LSE Southeast Asia Forum 2018

Date: Monday 21st May 2018
Time: 9.00-17.30
Venue: The Lincoln Centre, 18 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3ED


Southeast Asia remains one of the most dynamic regions in the world. Local economic and political trends can have domestic, regional and even global impacts due to ASEAN’s critical geostrategic location.

Amidst continuing uncertainty around rising US protectionism under President Trump, China, Japan and India are all increasing their economic engagement with ASEAN countries in their competition for strategic and commercial influence in the region. And while Southeast Asia displays strong economic fundamentals, it will need to respond to challenges posed by economic risk and tech-driven disruption to its markets.

This year, several Southeast Asian countries have been preparing for major elections which will act as indicators for the state of democracy in a politically diverse region. Domestic developments in some countries have seemed to mirror the rising populism seen across the world, with as yet uncertain implications, including for the region. The large-scale humanitarian crisis linked to developments in Rakhine State has also once again turned the global spotlight to Myanmar, without always paying attention to the enormous complexities the country is facing, including its numerous ethno-religious conflicts.

LSE SEAF 2018 addressed the following questions:

  • What have been the economic engagement strategies pursued by the major powers vis-à-vis Southeast Asia? How has the current US Southeast Asia policy changed the calculus and approach of other major powers toward the region?
  • What economic risks does Southeast Asia hold for businesses and investors? In what ways should the region strengthen its economic governance at policy, regulatory and company level?
  • What can we expect from the upcoming election in Malaysia and what will be the fate of Thailand’s long awaited general election? Is the Philippines an extreme case in the global rise of populist politics?
  • In what ways is the situation in Rakhine State a result of longstanding political failures? What are the wider political dynamics in Myanmar two years into the NLD-led government? What is China’s role in the conflict between Naypyitaw and ethnic armed groups along the northern border and what challenge does China pose to the Myanmar government? 


Keynote – 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

Full programme here

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