Regional Outlook Forum 2018
Trends, Uncertainties, Opportunities


The Regional Outlook Forum (ROF) is the flagship event of ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. Held in January every year since 1998, this one-day event focuses on macro trends, developments and challenges facing Southeast Asia in the immediate, short and medium-term, sharing insights from distinguished scholars and intellectuals with international and regional reputation.

The populism and anti-globalisation trends in Europe and the US, including the trade-protectionist tendencies, pose risks for the economic health of this region but it is not clear how they will play out. Some other major uncertainties are: how the Korean crisis will develop and with what repercussions, how the crucial US-China relationship will fare under a maverick US President, and how China will relate to its neighbours in East and Southeast Asia.

Within Southeast Asia the outcomes of elections in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand in the next few years remain uncertain, as do the course of ethno-religious conflicts in Myanmar, including the Rohingya crisis. It is also not clear how the extremist and terrorist threats in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia will evolve.

However it is not all gloom and doom. The trend towards global economic recovery will help lift economies of this region while good growth rates in the two most populous countries, China and India, will also bring clear benefits, including China’s mega project, the Belt and Road Initiative.

The Regional Outlook Forum 2018 will unpack such global and regional trends to help us understand what may lie just beyond the horizon and grasp the opportunities ahead.

ROF 2018 will feature the following issues:

  1. What are the implications for Southeast Asia of the changing US-China relations?
  2. What are the major economic trends and how will they impact the region?
  3. The Marawi aftermath: Is ISIS gaining a foothold in Southeast Asia?
  4. What can we expect from the upcoming elections in Malaysia and Indonesia?
  5. How well have the governments of Myanmar, Thailand and Philippines dealt with their domestic security and political challenges, and what are the prospects for 2018-2019?

Moderators & Speakers
© 2017 ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute