One Southeast Asia Programmes
During the first decade of its existence, the IRC concentrated its research agenda on four areas of strategic concern: Indochina, the Philippines, Radical Religions, and the making of One Southeast Asia. In its second decade the IRC focused its attention on issues of reconciliation in the region (ASEAN-Vietnam Interaction), of economic, social and cultural integration (ASEAN), of civilization and cultural dialogues (the Asian Renaissance).
In this respect the IRC became a catalyst in the origination of ideas, debate, and exchange of ideas. Guided by the philosophy of active scholarship and a proactive approach the IRC projected itself as a vanguard institution in the definition of its objectives, the materialization of its various programs, and the mobilization of human resources.
One Southeast Asia
The idea of having a “One Southeast Asia” project was initially mooted in 1989 following the end of the Cold War. The IRC believed that Southeast Asia should and must evolve into a cohesive regional entity. This meant that ASEAN should eventually be enlarged to include Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. IRC, together with Vietnam’s key academic institutions, proposed to initiate the “One Southeast Asia” project. With funding from the Canadian International Development Agency we were able to plan a three-year long project called “Interaction for Change: ASEAN-Vietnam” with the aim of facilitating dialog between ASEAN and Vietnam. (attachments)
The One Southeast Asia project had an ambitious goal that only dreamers could dream about. This project succeeded in mobilizing the energies of policy-makers, business people, the intelligentsia, the media and many others towards this end. Since that early beginning carried out numerous activities in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and eventually Myanmar all with a view to promoting the expansion of ASEAN as a truly Southeast Asian community of nations. The story of the ASEAN-Vietnam engagement of the One Southeast Asia Project has been told in One Southeast Asia: Shared Destiny, Shared Future which was published in 2012. The Vietnamese version was published in 2013. (attachments)
The Asian Renaissance Project (to be completed) *