ASEAN after Fifty Years: Its Political Future



About the Seminar

From its inception in 1967 to its fiftieth anniversary in 2017, ASEAN’s goals have been the promotion of peace, stability, security, and economic growth in the Southeast Asian region. A basic assumption of its leaders has been that the achievement of the first three goals is necessary to achieve the fourth. In the course of its history, ASEAN has undergone three reinventions. In 1976, it made security a primary Cold War concern. In 1992, it refocused on economic integration. In 2007, ASEAN adopted the ASEAN Charter, which was the legal basis for the ASEAN Community that was officially established in 2015. Even as its range of activities expanded and new socio-economic interests were placed on the agenda, ASEAN’s political basis remained unchanged: state sovereignty, noninterference in domestic affairs, and consensus decision making. Over the years, these limits to action have challenged ASEAN’s claim to centrality as the driving force for the regional political and security architecture. This raises the question of ASEAN’s political capacity to adapt in a fourth reinvention to the political demands of the new, threatening great-power strategic environment.

This presentation is based in part on the author’s new book ASEAN’s First Half Century: A Political History of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations now in press at Rowman & Littlefield, to be released in  May 2019.

About the Speaker

Professor Donald E. Weatherbee is Russell Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of South Carolina.  He is the author of more than 150 books, book chapters, journal articles, and commentary on Southeast Asian politics and international relations. His leading text, International Relations in Southeast Asia: The Struggle for Autonomy is in its third edition. Professor Weatherbee’s association with ISEAS is of long standing, with four periods of residence and more than 20 publications. He is currently Visiting Professorial Fellow at
ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute.


For registration, please fill in this form and email to by 12 December 2018.


Dec 13 2018


10:00 am - 11:30 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2