Youth and Civic Engagement in Southeast Asia


Southeast Asia has one of the largest youth populations in the world. Out of an estimated population of 629 million in 2016, about 213 million were aged between 15 and 35 years old, with the figure slated to grow to 218 million by 2030. In addition to the critical mass which they represent, youths in the region are also active in their political and civil spheres in their respective countries. From the Milk Tea Alliance to the protests in Myanmar, youths have taken to various platforms to air their views and influence policies. These range from physical protests to digital activism in the social media space, and even youth-centric political parties, like the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA) and the now-defunct Future Forward Party in Thailand.

In light of the burgeoning developments in this field, this seminar seeks to understand the civic and political attitudes of youths in Southeast Asia. Zooming into three countries in the region, the seminar offers a theoretical discussion of the relationship between youth-driven online and offline activism, dissecting notions of “slacktivism” and analysing the determinants which contribute to offline activism in Indonesia. It also looks at Malaysia’s increasingly conservative wave among the youth, examining its origins and manifestations, especially in relation to social capital within the country. Concurrently, Thailand’s youth activism and outlook at various levels of education (middle and high school, and universities) will be examined, elucidating the deep-rooted socioeconomic and political issues which young people perceive in Thailand.

About the Speakers

Iim Halimatusa’diyah is a Visiting Fellow at the Regional Social and Cultural Studies Programme at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, a Professor of Sociology at Islamic State University (UIN) Syarif Hidayatullah, and a Deputy Director for Research at the Center for the Study of Islam and Society (PPIM) UIN Jakarta. Iim received the Chevening Award for her MA at the University of Birmingham, UK, and the Fulbright Presidential Scholarship for her Ph.D. in Sociology at Iowa State University, USA.

Syaza Shukri is a Visiting Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. She is an Associate Professor teaching political science at International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), where she completed her PhD in 2018. Syaza is also the current Head of the Department of Political Science at IIUM.

Panarat Anamwathana is a Lecturer at the Department of History, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Thammasat University in Thailand. She is a Visiting Fellow at the Regional Social and Cultural Studies Programme of the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. Panarat holds a PhD in economic and social history from the University of Oxford. Her main research interests include economic history, political economy, and women’s history.


This is a hybrid event which will be held at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS).

Attending the Event In-person at ISEAS

To join the event in-person at ISEAS, please register via the ISEAS mobile app, available on iOS and Android via the Apple or Play store. Search “ISEAS” to find or scan this QR code.

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Seating capacity is limited. Do register early to avoid disappointment.

Attending the Event Virtually via Webinar

To join the event virtually at the specified date and time using your internet devices, please register here to receive your unique login link for the webinar via the zoom platform.

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


Jan 30 2024


10:00 am - 11:30 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2 / Webinar