Southeast Asia in Global Context


Roundtable discussion series

Situated between India and China, along the busiest maritime sea routes in the world, Southeast Asia remains today at the crossroads of ideas, commerce, migration, language, religion, and law, as it has for centuries. With a total population greater than that of the European Union, the countries of Southeast Asia have been working through the ASEAN—the Association of Southeast Asian Nations—to integrate their economies and cooperate politically and economically on matters of common concern, increasing the region’s influence on global affairs. This roundtable series situates contemporary Southeast Asia in Asia and the wider world, examining the many ways the pressing issues in the region affect us all. The inaugural Roundtable in November 2016 considered Thailand's Political and Constitutional Future, following the death in October of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) after his remarkable 70-year reign.

The South China Sea: What is Now and What is Next?

21 March 2019

The 7th in CAPI’s ongoing Southeast Asia in Global Context roundtable series convened another distinguished panel of international experts to discuss the simmering issues in the highly contentious South China Sea region.

Discussion topics included:

  • Overview/Background. What is the current geopolitical status of and tensions in the South China Sea? In particular, how have the tensions in the region affected ASEAN and intra-Southeast Asia relations?
  • US-China Relations. What is the status of the Freedom of Navigation Operations in the region? To what extent is the US-China relationship influenced by the geopolitics of the South China Sea? How close have we been and are we to a military conflict in the region?
  • International Law & Institutions. What are the important legal developments since the 2016 decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration? What role can international law and formal international institutions play in responding to developments in the region? 

Participants:

  • Nirmal Ghosh, US Bureau Chief, The Straits Times, Washington DC, USA
  • Nong Hong, Executive Director & Senior Fellow, Institute for China-America Studies, Washington DC, USA
  • Ted L McDorman, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria, Canada
  • Giles Norman, Executive Director, Defence and Security Policy, Global Affairs Canada
  • Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Executive Director & Professor, Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand (via video-link)
  • Jeff Reeves, Vice-President, Research, Asia Pacific Foundation, Vancouver, Canada
  • Brett Witthoeft, Royal Canadian Navy Indo-Pacific Security Analyst, Maritime Forces Pacific, Victoria, Canada 

Chairs

  • Phil Calvert, CAPI Senior Research Fellow and former Canadian Ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos
  • Victor V. Ramraj, CAPI Director and Chair in Asia-Pacific Legal Relations and Professor of Law, University of Victoria

CAPI gratefully acknowledges the support of the Department of National Defence Canada Defence Engagement Program

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Ethno-Religious Nationalism and Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia

25 October 2018

What are the major flashpoints and key indicators for authoritarianism in Southeast Asia and what are the underlying societal conditions that have given rise to the political shifts we are witnessing in the region?

In the latest of our ongoing “Southeast Asia in Global Context” roundtable series, a distinguished panel of international experts will consider questions about trends in human rights, democracy, and enthno-religious nationalism in Southeast Asia.

Panellists

  • Vitit Muntarbhorn, Faculty of Law, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, and UN Independent Expert on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Phil Robertson, Deputy Director, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch
  • Shane Barter, Director of the Pacific Basin Research Center, Soka University of America
  • Kai Ostwald, Director, Centre for Southeast Asia Research, UBC
  • Helen Lansdowne, Associate Director, CAPI
  • Melissa Crouch, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales [by videolink]

Chairs

  • Phil Calvert, CAPI Senior Research Fellow and former Canadian Ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos
  • Victor V. Ramraj, CAPI Director and Chair in Asia-Pacific Legal Relations and Professor of Law, University of Victoria

CAPI gratefully acknowledges the support of the Department of National Defence Canada Defence Engagement Program

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Connectivity and Borders in Southeast Asia

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15 March 2018

The ASEAN Economic Community has entered into force, and we hear much about ASEAN’s connectivity agenda. At the same time, we are witnessing rising religious and other forms of nationalism in the region, and border tensions persist. How do ASEAN countries navigate this landscape, and what does it mean for politics, security, migration and infrastructure development in the region?

How does it tie into larger questions of nationalism and globalization? What, indeed, does a border mean in Southeast Asia—both land and maritime borders. In this context, how to manage conflicts arising from the realities of geography and borders?

Panellists

  • Don Bobiash, Assistant-Deputy Minister Asia-Pacific, Global Affairs Canada
  • Jonathan Head, Southeast Asia Correspondent, BBC News, Bangkok
  • Kai Ostwald, Director, Centre for Southeast Asia Research, UBC
  • Renée Mulligan, ​Board, Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada
  • Scott Watson, Associate Professor and Chair, Political Science, UVic

Chairs

  • Phil Calvert, CAPI Senior Research Fellow and former Canadian Ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos
  • Victor V. Ramraj, CAPI Director and Chair in Asia-Pacific Legal Relations and Professor of Law, University of Victoria

Canada and Southeast Asia: Exploring the Challenges and Opportunities

9 November 2017

Southeast Asia is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, and for several decades Canada has taken a keen interest. But the region is not without its challenges, which Canadian businesses and diplomatic representatives continue to navigate. This session will examine Canada’s current opportunities and challenges in the region, including trade, investment, and human rights. It will discuss key questions, including what are the prospects for a Canada-ASEAN free trade agreement? How do NAFTA discussions affect Canada’s relationship with Southeast Asia? What are the opportunities for Canada, and how should Canada respond? Does Canada have the human capacity to engage with Southeast Asia? What are the geopolitical and human rights challenges of engaging with ASEAN? How should Canada balance its engagement with Southeast Asia and its commitment to human rights and social responsibility?

Panellists

  • Marie-Louise Hannan, Ambassador of Canada to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (via video link)
  • Hugh Stephens, Distinguished Fellow with the Asia Pacific Foundation and Principal at Trans-Pacific Connections; CAPI Associate
  • Jim Boutilier, Special Advisor on Asia-Pacific, Maritime Forces Pacific; CAPI Associate
  • Dominique Spragg, VP Strategic Planning, Viking Air
  • Andrew Doherty, Canada Director, Canada-ASEAN Business Council
  • Kai Ostwald, Assistant Professor in the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs & the Department of Political Science, and Faculty Associate at the Institute of Asian Research, UBC
  • Robyn Fila, International Programs Manager, Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives, University of Victoria
  • Thanh Phan, PhD Candidate in Law & Society, Faculty of Law, and CIGI Doctoral Fellow, University of Victoria
  • Theressa Etmanski, LLM Candidate in Law & Society, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria

Chairs

  • Phil Calvert, CAPI Senior Research Fellow and former Canadian Ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos
  • Victor V. Ramraj, CAPI Director and Chair in Asia-Pacific Legal Relations and Professor of Law, University of Victoria

Ethnic Conflict and Peace-Building in Mynamar: The Rohingya Crisis and Beyond

The South China Sea and US-China-ASEAN Relations

Thailand's Political and Constitutional Future


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CAPI's Southeast Asia in Global Context series is led by Phil Calvert, CAPI Senior Research Fellow and former Canadian Ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos, and Victor V. Ramraj, CAPI Director and Chair in Asia-Pacific Legal Relations.

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