Each year, SEAC hosts Southeast Asia Forum on campus, but because of the restrictions on mobility in light of COVID-19 pandemic, SEAF in 2020 will be held as a week-long series of online discussions titled LSE Southeast Asia Week between 26 and 30 October. The events will offer a unique opportunity to inform and network with policymakers in government, high ranking members of the diplomatic core, and stakeholders in business and civil society.

Over the summer, a lot of efforts have been put together to organise the LSE Southeast Asia Week programme (https://www.lse.ac.uk/seac/seaf), ensuring diversity of speakers and covering an exciting range of topics from politics and economics of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia, migration and mobility to politics of city-making and environmental resilience. The majority of speakers are joining the event from Southeast Asia, thus giving voice to researchers in the region.

I am also pleased to host Centre Directors’ Forum, which brings together six directors (including myself) of Southeast Asia research centres around the world (Singapore, Sweden, Hong Kong, Australia and Denmark) to discuss the current challenges of Southeast Asia research.

Also pleased is the collaboration with ASEASUK to host an ECR event on the second day as a closed session that shares the voices of early career researchers in the age of pandemic and ‘new normal’. Their views will feed into the Centre Directors’ Forum.

Below provides an overview of each daily event with a link to each event page:

Day 1 Politics and Economics of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia would be addressing the politics and economics of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia, involving Natalie Black (UK Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific, and also alumna of LSE), Dr Adrian Paul Rabe as health policy expert, Prof Lutfey Siddiqi as finance expert, and Prof John Side (SEAC Associate, LSE Government and International Relations). Chaired by Prof Hyun Shin (SEAC Director).

Day 2 Migration and Mobility in the COVID-19 Era would be on the topic of migration and mobility in the COVID-19 era, addressing the topic in the broader context of Southeast Asia and beyond. This is co-organised with Dr Sin Yee Koh, Senior Lecturer at Monash University Malaysia and LSE Geography alumna (PhD in HGUS). Chaired by Prof Hyun Shin (SEAC Director).

Day 2 ASEAS UK-SEAC Panels on ECR and Southeast Asia Research involves an afternoon closed session among ECRs to discuss their challenges for career advancement and research during the COVID-19 era, co-hosted with ASEASUK and chaired by Dr Deirdre McKay (Keele University), ASEASUK Chair and SEAC Associate. Co-Chaired by Prof Hyun Shin (SEAC Director).

Day 3 Centre Directors’ Forum features six directors (including myself) of Southeast Asia research centres around the world (Singapore, Sweden, Hong Kong, Australia and Denmark). SEAC Associate Prof Duncan McCargo (Nordic Institute of Asian Studies and SEAC Associate) also takes part in this. Day 2’s ECR discussion outcomes will feed into this Centre Directors’ Forum for directors’ response. Chaired by Prof Hyun Shin (SEAC Director).

Day 4 Politics of City-Making in Southeast Asia introduce urban politics of city-making in Southeast Asia, which includes Dr Yimin Zhao, Assistant Professor at Renmin University of China and LSE Geography alumnus. The roundtable builds partly around the on-going British Academy project The Urban Spectre of Global China (PI: Prof Hyun Shin). Cases covered include Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia and the Philippines. Chaired by Prof Hyun Shin (SEAC Director).

Day 5 Environmental Resilience and Southeast Asia is organised and chaired by Dr Tom Smith (LSE Geography and Environment and SEAC Associate), addressing environmental resilience and Southeast Asia. Cases involve Indonesia, Malaysia and beyond.