On the 1 January, 2017, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), integrated with the Center for Information Area Studies (CIAS) to relaunch as a new Center.

     During the latter half of the 20th century, human society poured great energy into advancing scientific and technological development. As a result of this the market economy spread to all corners of the world producing rapid economic growth. Yet, when we survey modern society, the impact of this growth manifests itself in a multitude of issues: from the deterioration of our global environment, the depletion of fossil resources, ongoing poverty, aging populations and declining birthrates, the recurrence of infectious diseases, ethnic and religious conflict, and the spread of terrorism. The driving forces behind these developments have come to be factors that cause the problems we face now face in the 21st century.

      These are interrelated and there is a limit to the number of makeshift solutions we can provide for particular issues. To solve these, there is an urgent need for interdisciplinary as well as integrated approaches. Due to rapid growth globalization, we can no longer consider communities as closed systems. Rather, we must consider them as open and interconnected under the vagaries of our current age. As such there exists a strong need to create new dynamic academic institutions that can go beyond the established fields of area studies and existent disciplinary frameworks. These should design guidelines for social development that can rise to face present day challenges and solve myriad complex issues.

       Aiming to do so, CSEAS currently has been reconsidering the approach of area studies whose main objective has been to understand societies in a comprehensive fashion. At present CSEAS aims to 1) strengthen commitments to those where area studies are carried out 2) accelerate and mediate knowledge flows between them and global human society. These commitments aim to produce shared knowledge, based on the various realities encompassing interactions between these and move toward the development of a global society. For solving global tasks, we also aim to strengthen interdisciplinary approaches, with the humanities and social sciences at the heart of this endeavor to provide diverse paths for developmental at a global level. CSEAS believes, more than ever before, that it is essential to bring together a greater diversity of knowledge through repeated discussions with researchers from diverse research fields with wide-ranging ideas and knowledge.

      The central focus of our center is Southeast Asia but with a comparative focus on other global regions. Recently, Southeast Asia has experienced rapid economic growth, and this has been through the aggressive promotion of globalization. Research at CSEAS however, has revealed that this has not necessarily happened according to so-called market principles. Southeast Asia comprises various ethnic groups, religions, cultures, and these differences sometime provoke conflicts. Yet, they do co-exist without decisive confrontations and demonstrate resilience despite frequent outbreaks of infectious diseases, pandemics and natural disasters. CSEAS believes that the realities of Southeast Asian societies will provide us with rich insights into human societies in the 21st century.

      CSEAS will continue to question, shape and foster area studies. This can only happen if we are prepared to continue to engage in dialogues together and develop solutions to complex regional issues./p>

      1. Development of solutions to complex global issues
      2. Strengthening social- and humanities- centered interdisciplinary research approaches
      3. Enhancing understanding and appreciation of the value of diversity in human societies

Promotion of trans-disciplinary collaborative research

      1. To form academic communities that can deal with transnational issues
      2. To move toward life-oriented research approaches attuned to regional diversity
      3. To create socially innovative approaches to the needs of the environment
      4. To share and use global information resources

Social Contributions

CSEAS conducts research into common social issues identified through discussions with communities and local specialists. It also disseminates knowledge gained from research through mutual exchange programs and information technology both in English and languages used in the region.

Commitment to Education

CSEAS provides scholars and postdoctoral researchers with opportunities for interdisciplinary and international research and encourages participation in inter-regional discussion. CSEAS is also involved in several school and university educational programs and participates in English-based undergraduate teaching on campus.

The 42nd Southeast Asia Seminar, 6-12 December 2018, Thimphu, Bhutan