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The ASEAN Studies Centre of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies

The ASEAN Studies Centre is devoted to research issues that pertain to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

High Level Conference on the Evolving Nature of ASEAN's Economic Cooperation

ASC and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) convened the High-Level Conference on The Evolving Nature of ASEAN’s Economic Cooperation: Original Vision and Current Practice on 9 October 2014.

Seminar on ASEAN Community 2015: Managing Integration for Better Jobs & Shared Prosperity

22 Sep 2014, ISEAS. Featuring the joint ILO-ADB report examining the impact of the AEC on labour markets. Click here to read the report

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Latest News & Updates

ASC Lead Researcher for Economic Affairs Sanchita Basu Das discusses the work-in-progress nature of regional economic integration in her commentary carried first in the Business Times edition of 20 May 2015. Read the article in full here. 



ASC lead researchers Sanchita Basu Das and Dr Termsak Chalermpalunupap had an interactive discussion with members of the Indonesia Young Entrepreneurs Association on 11 May 2015, when the young entrepreneurs visited ISEAS to learn more of regional developments, particularly with regard to the ongoing preparations for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which will be announced as part of the ASEAN Community 2015 in December 2015. The young entrepreneurs showed keen interest in AEC developments, the current state of AEC initiatives and priorities, including future benefits for young entrepreneurs in ASEAN. They were also interested in knowing the details of what the ASEAN Leaders would announce for the ASEAN Community on 31st December 2015.

Overall, Indonesia is the largest market in the ASEAN region, and Indonesians –as consumers of goods and services – will benefit from greater competition in Indonesia and in the AEC. Because of this, the young entrepreneurs need to pay attention not only to developments and challenges in AEC implementation, but also to know more of AEC’s linkages with the two community pillars: the ASEAN Political Security Community (APSC) and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC). This is because all the three community pillars are inter-linked, and ASEAN member states all stand to gain some tangible benefits from ASEAN’s community-building endeavour.



The ASEAN Studies Centre (ASC) team had the honour to brief two royal princesses on ASEAN issues and concerns. Most recently, on 8 May 2015, HRH Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Negara Brunei Darussalam, visited ISEAS to discuss topics related to the outcome statements and declarations issued at the 26th ASEAN Summit, including ASEAN’s discussions on territorial claims in the South China Sea, and on ASEAN centrality. Other topics of interest that were discussed with HRH Princess Hajah Masna and her delegation included emerging trends under each of the community pillars for the post-2015 landscape in ASEAN, ranging from the new regional economic architecture under the ASEAN Economic Community to issues and trends in the socio-cultural sphere, including those related to ASEAN’s efforts in deepening regional identity and awareness.

Earlier on 17 March 2015, ASC Head Rodolfo Severino and ASC lead researchers Sanchita Basu Das and Moe Thuzar accompanied ISEAS Deputy Director Dr Ooi Kee Beng, ISEAS Senior Fellow Dr Cassey Lee, and Visiting Senior Fellow Dr Porphant Ouyyanont for an audience with HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand, to discuss the issues and implications arising from regional economic integration, particularly with regard to the impact of integration on the people in ASEAN countries. HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is an ISEAS Distinguished Honorary Fellow since July 2012.



Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Prof Kishore Mahbubani, has shared his thoughts on ASEAN in a commentary “The modern miracle that is ASEAN” carried by the Straits Times on 10 May 2015. In his commentary, Dean Kishore discusses the importance of diplomatic and personal ties in sustaining and maintaining regional harmony among the ASEAN members. The full article is here





Summary Report: High Level Conference on the Evolving Nature of ASEAN's Economic Cooperation

The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) convened the High-Level Conference on The Evolving Nature of ASEAN’s Economic Cooperation: Original Vision and Current Practice on 9 October 2014 at ISEAS, Singapore. The Conference sought to review the original motivations for ASEAN and reflect on how it has evolved over time. It facilitated an open discussion between the early thinkers of ASEAN (mainly ASEAN-5) and its current practitioners to spell out the recommendations for the future.
For a summary report on the conference, click here.


Seminar On ASEAN Community 2015: Managing Integration For Better Jobs & Shared Prosperity

The ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS will be hosting a seminar on managing integration in the ASEAN Community on 22 September 2014. For more details and to register, visit this link.


Symposium On Regionalism In The Asia Pacific: Current And Future Developments

On 21 August 2014, ISEAS hosted a symposium to share insights on the latest Regional Trade Agreement (RTA) initiatives in the Asia Pacific, including RCEP which ASEAN adopted in 2011. The symposium also sought to gain perspectives from countries that may or may not have multiple membership in these RTAs, and to examine the challenges and opportunities for merging these trade groupings in the future.
Click here for a summary report, to access the presentations and for photos from the event.

*Update- click here for pictures from the event.


ASEAN 2030: Towards a Borderless Economic Community Book Launch

Join us for the book launch of ASEAN 2030: Towards a Borderless Economic Community- A study by the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank and the ASEAN Secretariat. The event will be held at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies on 17 July 2014. For more information and to register, click here.


The ASEAN Roundtable 2014

The ASEAN Studies Centre will be holding the annual ASEAN Roundtable 2014, an annual flagship activity that has been taking place for the past 29 years, since 1985. The 29th roundtable this year has the theme “Moving Towards a People-Centred ASEAN” and focuses on issues and trends under the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).

For more information, click here.








Views & Opinions

Click here for a full listing of Opinions shared by the ASEAN Studies Centre



The ASEAN Economic Community: A Work in Progress Edited by: Sanchita Basu DasJayant MenonRodolfo Severino, Omkar Lal Shrestha
ASC141 This is an important and timely volume: important because ASEAN is an increasingly significant and influential regional and global actor; and timely because, as the 2015 ASEAN Economic Community target approaches, what is needed is a sympathetic yet arms-length survey of the issues and challenges.

ASEAN will miss some of the targets laid out in its AEC Blueprint, but the reader is left in no doubt that the ASEAN spirit is alive and well.

ASEAN-Japan Relations

Edited by: Takashi Shiraishi and Takaaki Kojima

BM4991 This book on ASEAN-Japan relations is the intellectual highlight of the 40 years anniversary of ASEAN Japan cooperation. ASEAN has become an indispensable partner and friend of Japan and its role as the hub of cooperation, development and stability in the region will without doubt become even more important after the establishment of the ASEAN Communities in 2015.

The book contains contributions of the most renowned and respected experts on ASEAN.

ASEAN Economic Community Scorecard: Performance and Perception
Editor: Sanchita Basu Das

AEC book right size The official AEC Scorecard is expected to track the implementation of measures and the achievement of milestones committed in the AEC Strategic Schedule.  However, the Scorecard, in its current form, is too brief and general to be useful for the ASEAN citizens.
This book attempts to fill this gap and evaluates the current status of and the progress towards the milestones of the AEC Blueprint.

Enhancing ASEAN Connectivity

Editor: Sanchita Basu Das

Enhancing ASEANs Connectivity ASEAN has a goal to create an economic community by 2015.  To achieve the goal, connectivity among the member states needs to be given due importance.
This book looks at the current state of ASEAN's physical connectivity and challenges in building better infrastructure.  It concludes with the steps needed to be taken for implementation of the various plans, and policy recommendations.

ASEAN-Russia:  Foundations and Future Prospects

Editors: Victor Sumsky, Mark Hong, Amy Lugg

ASEAN Russia Russia is geographically and historically part of Asia and the Asia Pacific, and has been a dialogue partner of ASEAN since 1996.
To commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the Russia-ASEAN dialogue partnership in 2011, the ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS and its counterpart from MGIMO-University, Moscow co-organised a two-day conference that year, in which papers were presented offering perspectives from Russia and the ten ASEAN member states.  This is a timely book that affords the reader insights into where ASEAN-Russia relations currently stand and suggests how they can improve and move forward.

Achieving the ASEAN Economic Community 2015:  Challenges for Member States and Businesses

Editor: Sanchita Basu Das

ASEAN AEC 2015 ASEAN leaders proclaimed to create an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.  But achieving the target requires cooperation and coordination both within and among the ten ASEAN economies.
This book examines the state of readiness of the member countries for regional integration and discusses the challenges to ASEAN businesses.  It gives policy recommendations to address some of the issues faced by the key stakeholders.  


The ASEAN Regional Forum
Author: Rodolfo C. Severino
The ASEAN Regional Forum The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is the only Asia-Pacific-wide forum for consultations and dialogue on political and security issues.
Although many articles and books have been published on the ARF, this is one of the few books that treat the forum comprehensively and from the standpoint of the region itself.


Visit this link for a full listing of Projects and Activities organised by the ASEAN Studies Centre


Report Series

Report Series 12
The Gulf Cooperation Council: A Rising Power and Lessons for ASEAN

Gulf Cooperation Council

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.