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Past events

Past events run in conjunction with partners

Our centre runs a number of events throughout the year in conjunction with industry, government, NGOs and community partners. Take a look at our past events for ideas on how you can get involved with our centre.

Past events 2017

Co-hosted with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Members of the ASEAN Committee of Permanent Representative (CPR) joined us in conversation with Professor Michele Ford from the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre in a public seminar to discuss the topics that affect our region.

We brought together up-and-coming early career researchers (excluding postgraduate students) from around Australia, who are focused on Southeast Asia, to discuss a range of professional development topics, and network with peers from across the country.

Our invited experts provided current political updates on selected Southeast Asian states, providing individual country updates as well as space to discuss the broader implications of political issues beyond national borders. Drawing upon expertise from around the world, we discussed the latest political developments across Southeast Asia.

  • Professor Duncan McCargo (University of Leeds)
  • Professor Ardeth Maung Thawngh (University of Massachusetts, Lowell)
  • Dr Aries Arugay (University of the Philippines, Diliman)
  • Dr Maj Nygaard-Christensen (Aarhus University)
  • Dr Nicole Curato (University of Canberra)
  • Dr Patrick Jory (University of Queensland)
  • Dr Paul Schuler (University of Arizona)
  • Mr Thomas Power (Australian National University)

Applying for academic jobs can be a daunting process. This workshop helped higher degree research students think strategically about how to approach the job application process and what you can do to give yourself a competitive edge.

Co-hosted with the Sydney School of Education and Social Work's CoInEd Research Network.

Associate Professor Wee Tiong joined us to discuss the role of valuing and values education in the mathematics acheivment of students in some East and Southeast Asian countries.

Co-hosted with Sydney Ideas, the Research for Development Impact (RDI) Network and the Developmental Leadership Program.

Dr Duncan Green of Oxfam joined us to share the ideas in his latest book How Change Happens, exploring the topic of social and political change from the perspective of international development.  

Book discussion with Aihwa Ong

Co-hosted by the Biopolitics of Science Research Network

In Fungible Life Aihwa Ong explores the dynamic world of cutting-edge bioscience research, offering critical insights into the complex ways Asian bioscientific worlds and cosmopolitan sciences are entangled in a tropical environment brimming with the threat of emergent diseases. At biomedical centers in Singapore and China scientists map genetic variants, disease risks, and biomarkers, mobilizing ethnicized "Asian" bodies and health data for genomic research. Their differentiation between Chinese, Indian, and Malay DNA makes fungible Singapore's ethnic-stratified databases that come to "represent" majority populations in Asia. By deploying genomic science as a public good, researchers reconfigure the relationships between objects, peoples, and spaces, thus rendering "Asia" itself as a shifting entity. In Ong's analysis, Asia emerges as a richly layered mode of entanglements, where the population's genetic pasts, anxieties and hopes, shared genetic weaknesses, and embattled genetic futures intersect. Furthermore, her illustration of the contrasting methods and goals of the Biopolis biomedical centre in Singapore and BGI Genomics in China raises questions about the future direction of cosmopolitan science in Asia and beyond.

Aihwa Ong is Robert H. Lowie Distinguished Chair in Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley

Co-hosted with the Department of Indonesian Studies

In 2008 Goenawan Moehamad celebrated the “very valuable paradox” (paradoks yang sangat berharga) of the language that has come over three generations to be known by almost all of Indonesia’s 250 million people. Drawing on sociolinguistic research, Professor Joe Errington of Yale University explored different versions of this paradox as it has developed in two towns, Kupang and Pontianak.


Most accounts of Myanmar’s rural economy paint a picture of stagnation, in a country characterised by chronic food insecurity, persistent poverty, and extremely low agricultural productivity. The seminar presented survey evidence from 2016, showing that a recent, rapid and profound transformation has begun in rural areas close to Myanmar’s main city, Yangon. These interlinked changes signal an extremely rapid deepening of market relations occurring in the areas surveyed. The immediate and longer run social implications of this multifaceted process require further exploration.

Dr Ben Belton holds the position of Assistant Professor in International Development at Michigan State University. He is based full-time in Myanmar in the USAID funded project 'Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy'.


The Sydney Southeast Asia Centre hosted a group of 26 women activists from Indonesia in January 2017 for a two-week short course aimed at improving participants' leadership, management and organisational skills. The networking event featured a short presentation by Dr Dyah Pitaloka from the Department of Indonesian Studies about her research on the leadership strategies used by rural women in Indonesia with Type 2 Diabetes.