Over two half-day sessions, our researchers shared with the students some of the current hot topics in Southeast Asia, including the Free and Open Indo-Pacific, Belt and Road Initiative in Vietnam, ASEAN and AEC. This is the 9th consecutive year that ISEAS has hosted the OPUS for Syracuse University.
Tuesday 28 August 2018 – ISEAS Yusof – Ishak Institute hosted the Outreach Programme for University Students (OPUS) Lecture Series with Syracuse University, now in its 9th year. The 3-hour session (Day 1) was attended by 44 Syracuse University students and accompanied by two staff members Ms Joffre Yuk Sim CHAN, Director and Academic Coordinator of Syracuse University Abroad Program in Hong Kong, City University of Hong Kong, and Ms Iris Chin Yan SHUM, Program Assistant, Syracuse University Abroad Program in Hong Kong, Syracuse University Hong Kong. The two half-day programme was chaired by Dr Lee Poh Onn, Senior Fellow, Regional Economic Studies Programme. Prior to Singapore, the delegation had earlier visited Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, and Malacca.
Dr Lee Poh Onn and Dr Malcolm Cook kicked off the programme with an introduction to ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, followed by a talk on Free and Open Indo Pacific. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)
Dr Malcolm Cook, Senior Fellow, Regional Strategic and Political Studies Programme, and Dr Norshahril Saat, Fellow, Regional Social and Cultural Studies Programme, led Session 1 of the series. Dr Cook spoke on a Free and Open Indo Pacific (FOIP). He emphasised that how FOIP is presently defined will affect its future operation, while Dr Norshahril spoke on Islam in Southeast Asia and how it has evolved over time. He also emphasised that there was a need to distinguish between violent and non-violent forms of extremism in the region.
Dr Norshahril Saat sharing on Islam in Southeast Asia. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)
Dr Lee Hwok-Aun spoke on Bumiputera policies in Malaysia. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)
In Session 2, Dr Lee Hwok-Aun, Senior Fellow, Regional Economic Studies Programme, discussed Affirmative Action in Malaysia and said that in order for pro-Bumiputera policies to be rolled back, they may need to be made more effective in their ultimate goal of developing Bumiputera capability, competitiveness, confidence and self-reliance. Dr Le Hong Hiep wrapped the first day’s presentation by a discussion of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Vietnam, and how challenges have to be framed in the context of the assessment of the credibility of Chinese contractors and technologies, commercial terms and conditions of BRI loans, and developments in the South China Sea.
Dr Le Hong Hiep wrapping up Day 1 with his sharing on the Belt and Road Initiative in Vietnam. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)
44 students took part in the 9th OPUS with Syracuse University this year. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)
Dr Tang Siew Mun presenting on ASEAN and South China Sea at the start of Day 2. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)
Wednesday, 29 August 2018 – Dr Tang Siew Mun, Head, ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, kicked off Session 1 of Day 2 by presenting his lecture on ASEAN and the South China Sea issue. The role of ASEAN was not to resolve conflicts (that had to be undertaken bilaterally) but to ensure that any disputes do not flare up into an open conflict. This was followed by Dr Sanchita Basu Das, Fellow and Lead Researcher (Economic Affairs), ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, who spoke on the ASEAN Economic Community and Singapore. During this presentation, she spoke about the challenges still remaining in ASEAN and how far it has progressed to date.
Dr Sanchita Basu Das spoke on ASEAN Economic Community and trade. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)
During Session 2 of Day 2, Ms Moe Thuzar, Fellow and Lead Researcher (Socio-Cultural Affairs), ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, and Co-coordinator, Myanmar Studies Programme, discussed “Myanmar’s Political Moment: Challenges and Opportunities”, where she highlighted the significant challenges and legacy issues that the current NLD government in Myanmar faced in its transition.
Ms Moe Thuzar wraps up the programme with her presentation on Myanmar. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)
A group photo with ISEAS presenters on Day 2, a sunny day. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)