An audience member holding a branded LSE SEAC conference pack

LSE Southeast Asia Forum

Meeting up with influential thinkers in a field of my interest was a great opportunity for me to ask questions and put a human face to the incisive argumentation and pages of publications carrying their names. This event was truly a gem!

Cheryl Shea Tham, International Relations student at LSE

Our flagship event, the annual LSE Southeast Asia Forum (SEAF) brings together leading Southeast Asia experts to engage with some of the region's most critical and pressing issues, as well as showcases the high-quality research on Southeast Asia conducted at LSE.


Southeast Asia Forum 2023: Southeast Asia Futures

How do past and current trends inform the future of Southeast Asia? What can we learn from Political, Economic, and Urban approaches about how Southeast Asia is changing? In 2023 the Southeast Asia Forum focused on Southeast Asia Futures, considering the questions from a variety of approaches and lenses. The events offered a unique opportunity to learn from cutting-edge research and gain insight from experts working in and on Southeast Asia. 


Southeast Asia Economic Futures: Climbing up global value chains: leveraging FDI for economic development in Asia

Tuesday 9 May, 12:00 - 1:30pm 

How can policymakers leverage global value chains to advance regional economic dynamism? What are the specific strategies that national and local policymakers can adopt to attract FDI and foster participation in GVCs? How to move Asian local economies into higher value-added parts of a value chain, or ‘upgrade’? The panel will address these questions and further engage with the audience in a discussion on the future of sustainable development at the local level in Asia. Particularly of interest is what can and should be targeted with the available policy tools when harnessing GVCs for regional development. The video of this event is available here


The Future of Sand: the Comparative Geopolitics of Land Reclamation, the Environment, and Social Change

Tuesday 9 May, 4:00pm - 5:45pm

The Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre is pleased to host the screening of two insightful documentaries: Flow of Sands which showcases the life of people and the disruption to the environment caused by land reclamation projects in Malacca, Malaysia; and City of Sand which captures the lives of sand in the city of Accra, providing an intimate insight into the environmental and social changes underway in the expanding metropolis.

The screening will be followed by conversations with the documentary producers, Dr Monika Arnez and Dr Kate Dawson, to broadly discuss the socio-ecological changes and the complexities of urbanisation the flow of sand symbolises. The video of this event is available here


Southeast Asia Urban Futures

Wednesday 10 May, 10:00 - 11:30am

Southeast Asia has been known for its rapid urbanisation. One of the emergent critical urban questions that call for urgent attention in Southeast Asia is how cities are planned and governed in climate emergencies and if the current pace of urbanisation can be sustained without endangering the lives of urban inhabitants. Against this backdrop, the panellists bring diverse perspectives to consider the urban futures of Southeast Asia, especially concerning the urban-nature nexus in light of the mounting pressure of climate change-induced urban challenges. The video of this event is available here


Southeast Asia Research Futures: In Country Experiences

Wednesday 10 May, 12:00 - 1:30pm

This roundtable discussion organised in collaboration with ASEAS(UK) will focus on the in-country research climate and future of research in Indonesia and the Philippines. An Early Career Researcher focused session, it will feature researchers sharing their experiences of operating within changing political climates, and creating and sustaining local partnerships amongst other issues. The video of this event is available here


Southeast Asia’s Political Futures 

Thursday 11 May, 10:00 - 11:30am

Southeast Asia is notable for the diversity of its political regimes, its political problems, and its patterns of political change. Today Southeast Asia faces uncertainty as to its political future(s) amidst heightened tensions between the United States and China, with democracy and human rights seemingly in decline in some countries and authoritarianism apparently entrenched in others, but popular struggles and violent conflicts remaining largely unresolved across the region, and young Southeast Asians demonstrating strong appetites for political change. The video of this event is available here


Southeast Asia Research: Challenges and Opportunities

Thursday 11 May, 2:00 - 3:30pm

This roundtable discussion will feature PhD Students and ECRs who focus on a mix of countries across Southeast Asia  who will share their different experiences and observations of Southeast Asia research. Discussions will include: challenges (and opportunities) of the pandemic; geopolitical conditions; and the realities of research and fieldwork in Southeast Asia. The video of this event is available here


How People Compare: Cross Disciplinary Discussions

Friday 12 May, 11:00am - 12:30pm

This discussion will bring together SEAC Associates for a cross-disciplinary discussion harnessing insights from across Urban Studies, Anthropology, and Geography. The event is inspired by the recent publication of How People Compare and will discuss comparative practice: how we understand uneven power relations; how, why and with what consequences diversely situated groups of people make comparisons with and between each other. The video of this event is available here


Previous Years’ Forums


LSE Southeast Asia Week 2021 - 25-29 October

Session I: Environment and Politics in Southeast Asia: Presentations by the awardees of the SEAC Research Fund
Session II: Roundtable: Comparative Urbanism for Southeast Asia 
Session III: The Role of Philanthropy in a New Social Contract
Session IV: Work and Life in the COVID-19 Era: (Preliminary) findings from the SEAC Undergraduate Research Fellowship Projects
Session V: Society and Economy in Southeast Asia: Presentations by LSE PhD researchers

Summary, programme and recordings of the 2021 Forum


LSE Southeast Asia Forum 2020 - 26-30 October

Session I: Politics and Economics of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia
Session II: Migration and Mobility in the COVID-19 Era
Session III: ASEAS UK-SEAC Panels on ECR and Southeast Asia Research
Session IV: Whither Southeast Asia Research?: Roundtable with Centre Directors
Session V: Politics of City-Making in Southeast Asia
Session VI: Environmental Resilience and Southeast Asia

Summary, programme and recordings of the 2020 Forum


LSE Southeast Asia Forum 2019 - Tuesday 29th October

Keynote Lecture: Partnership and Sustainability for Thailand and ASEAN for the Future
Panel I - SEAC #urbanisation theme: Smart Cities in Southeast Asia 
Panel II - SEAC #connectivity theme: The impact of the Belt and Road Initiative on infrastructure and politics in Southeast Asia                          
Panel III -  SEAC #governance theme: Electoral politics in Southeast Asia from a grassroots perspective

Summary, programme and recordings the 2019 Forum

LSE Southeast Asia Forum 2018 - Monday 21st May

Keynote Lecture: ASEAN in a Contested World: Singapore's 2018 chairmanship priorities
Panel I – The Great Powers' Economic Engagement of Southeast Asia
Panel II – Economic Challenges and Risks in Southeast Asia
Panel III – Leadership and Political Futures
Panel IV – Myanmar: challenges and risks

Summary, programme and podcasts of the 2018 Forum

LSE Southeast Asia Forum 2017 - Monday 22nd May

Keynote Lecture: Southeast Asia in 2017: challenges and opportunities
Panel I – The ASEAN Economic Community: reality and myth
Panel II – ASEAN 50 Years and Regional Order
Taster session – Hypnotism and Javanese Magnetism
Panel III – Political Landscapes and Dynamics: Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand
Panel IV – Political Change and Foreign Policy: Myanmar, Vietnam and the Philippines

Summary, programme and podcasts of the 2017 Forum

LSE Southeast Asia Forum 2016 - Friday 13th May

Morning Keynote Lecture
Panel I – ASEAN Security
Panel II – Religion in Southeast Asia
Panel III – ASEAN Horizons
Panel IV – Inclusion and Exclusion in Southeast Asia
Evening Keynote Lecture

Summary, programme and podcasts of the 2016 Forum