3 June 2015: The surprising truth about Asian languages
With recent progress in research on the languages of mainland Southeast Asia, we now know more than ever about what these languages are like, who speaks them, where they have come from, and where they are going. A panel made up of experts in Southeast Asian languages spoken in countries ranging from Bhutan, to Burma, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia, discussed many old myths and new truths about the languages of this fascinating area of the world.
Co-hosted with Sydney Ideas, the panel discussion marked the launch of Professor Nick Enfield's book Languages of Mainland Southeast Asia: The State of the Art.
8 May 2015: Universities and innovation in international development in Southeast Asia
In an increasingly contested space, development agencies are searching for new tools, technologies, and approaches – what are often called innovative solutions – to the complex challenge of reducing poverty. Universities have traditionally played a strong role in driving innovation in their respective economies. In theory, this suggests that universities are well placed to be part of the new innovation agenda. In practice, however, universities have had a mixed record working with development agencies to support their objectives.
At this event, researchers and development practitioners discussed what innovation means to them and how universities can best contribute to the new innovation agenda and potential challenges in doing so. Thank you to RTI International and the ACFID University Network for supporting the event.
14 April 2015: What Thai voters want
Two of the most prominent forces in current Thai politics are the monarchy and protest movements. Yet, we know very little about how these two forces shape electoral politics and influence voter behaviour. In this seminar, Professor Allen Hicken from the University of Michigan presented some of the results from a unique survey experiment conducted in the days prior to the 2011 election. He answered the following questions. Do appeals to the monarch by candidates help their electoral chances? Is invoking the monarchy a winning electoral strategy? Does this differ by party, or by region? Professor Hicken also examined how candidates’ associations with either the yellow or red shirt protests affect voter evaluation of those candidates.
24 March 2015: Women and leadership from Southeast Asia to Australia
Three female leaders with a connection to Southeast Asia discussed their views of leadership, the particular challenges they have faced and how they have overcome them, and what their connection to Southeast Asia means for their leadership experience. Featuring Lydia Santosa, solicitor with Nicholas George Lawyers; Jane Brock from Immigrant Women’s Speakout Association of NSW and; Angelica Casado, Director of the Australian Thai Youth Ambassadors Program, the public forum was held in conjunction with a training program that SSEAC was hosting for a group of future female NGO leaders from Indonesia.
18 March 2015: Constitutional politics in Burma/Myanmar going nowhere?
Constitutional reform dominates political discourse about Burma/Myanmar. The milestones of the current transition to democracy have seen the constitution become a lens through which all major political and social issues are conceptualised. Outside observers often see this debate as ultimately about a single issue: will the constitutional barriers preventing Aung San Suu Kyi’s ascendancy to the presidency be lifted? But renewal of the country’s basic law has long been on the agenda for democracy activists and ethnic political groups alike, and their demands are different and diverse, touching not only on the role of the military and who can become president but also on federalism and the role of religion in politics. In this seminar, Andrew McLeod from the University of Oxford traced the origins of the current constitutional reform process and examine the prospects of constitutional change in the lead up to this year’s general elections and beyond.