35th ASEAN Roundtable – Session I: Covid-19’s Multi-Faceted Challenges in ASEAN


About the Webinar

Covid-19 has tested ASEAN governments’ responsiveness in crisis management. The first session of the Roundtable will discuss ASEAN multiple institutional arrangements to manage policy response to the pandemic; whether ASEAN’s multilateralism framework is impactful during the crisis; whether ASEAN governments have been adequate in handling the health emergency; how ASEAN should strengthen its health cooperation through the promotion of ‘vaccine multilateralism’; how the dynamics of each individual country’s responses shapes regional action; and to what extent the crisis has intensified government responses to combat fake news domestically. As ASEAN governments face unprecedented challenges, the pandemic has revealed gaps in government coordination, preparation and response capacity, and transparency and accountability in policy-making. These gaps have prompted ASEAN governments to introduce quick responses and fixes which need to be assessed.

Click here for more information on the 35th ASEAN Roundtable.

Opening Remarks:

Mr Choi Shing Kwok is Director of ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute and Head of the ASEAN Studies Centre at the Institute. Previously, he was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources from 2012 to 2017, and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport from 2005 to 2012. Prior to that, he was Director, Security and Intelligence Division, Ministry of Defence. Mr Choi was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Silver) (Military) in 1993 and the Meritorious Service Medal in 2000 for his significant contributions to the Singapore Public Service.

Mr Christian Echle is the Director of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s Regional Programme Political Dialogue Asia, based in Singapore. In addition to political cooperation, the program focuses on the dialogue between Europe and Asia in the areas of security, multilateralism and digitization. Prior to that, Mr Echle was responsible for the foundation’s Media Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa (2012-2017). Mr Echle was awarded Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s scholarship for young journalists (2002-2007), and worked for the German public broadcaster ZDF, and newspapers Badische Neueste Nachrichten and Badische Zeitung during this time.

Keynote Message:

Dr Koh Poh Koon is Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of Health of Singapore overseeing healthcare financing policies and healthcare manpower development. Dr Koh is also the Deputy Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress. He is the Vice Co-Chair of the Singapore-Jiangsu Economic Council, and co-chair of two sub-committees overseeing the transformation of the manufacturing and the trade and connectivity clusters of the Future Economy Council. Prior to his appointment at the Ministry of Health, he was Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry. Before joining politics, Dr Koh held academic appointments as Clinical Lecturer in the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore, Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and Adjunct Clinician Scientist with the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star). Dr Koh was the Director of the Colorectal Cancer Molecular Genetics Research Laboratory and the founding Director of the Colorectal Cancer Genomic Health Service.

About the Speakers


Ms Moe Thuzar is a Fellow at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute’s Regional Socio-Cultural Studies Programme. She also co-coordinates the Myanmar Studies Programme. She was previously a lead researcher at the ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS. Moe joined ISEAS in 2008, after spending close to ten years at the ASEAN Secretariat coordinating regional cooperation in social and human development. A former diplomat, Moe is researching the socio-cultural underpinnings of Burma’s Cold War foreign policy for her PhD and spent the 2019-20 academic year as a Fox International Fellow at Yale University’s MacMillan Center.


Dr Mely Caballero-Anthony is Professor and Head of the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Her research interests include global governance, multilateralism in the Asia-Pacific, non-traditional security and ASEAN regionalism. She has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and international presses. Her latest books include: Negotiating Governance on Non-Traditional Security in Southeast Asia and Beyond (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018). She has held appointments in international institutions, serving as member of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters (2013-2017) and as Chair in 2016; and as Director of External Relations of the ASEAN Secretariat (2011-2012).

Dr Jonatan Lassa is an interdisciplinary social scientist with an engineering background. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Humanitarian, Emergency & Disaster Management at Charles Darwin University, Australia. He served as an adjunct fellow at RSIS, NTU, and Senior Fellow at Resilient Development Initiative and Institute of Resource Governance and Social Change in Indonesia. His research interest covers institutional and policy dimension of disaster and climate adaptation, mitigation, political will for resilience, recovery policy, disaster governance, food systems, complex network, humanitarian NGOs and human security. His area of interest includes, but is not limited to, Southeast Asia and Pacific.

Dr Ross Tapsell is a senior lecturer and researcher at the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific, specialising in Southeast Asian media. He is the author of Media Power in Indonesia: Oligarchs, Citizens and the Digital Revolution (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017) and co-editor of Digital Indonesia: Connectivity and Divergence (ISEAS Publishing, 2017). He has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, VICE and other publications in the Southeast Asian region. Dr Tapsell’s main research interests focus on digital technologies and their relationship to media, culture and politics in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

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For the best experience, please mute your microphone. If you have questions for the speaker, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speaker during the Q&A session.


Oct 21 2020


10:00 am - 12:00 pm