by Fara Sheila Azalia, Intern for Program Division of ASEAN Studies Centre, Universitas Gadjah Mada (Picture by

ASEAN which previously comprised of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, and the Philippines, received the newest four members at the end of 1990s: Vietnam in 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999. Referred to the CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam) countries, these four countries have changed the scope of ASEAN. Its membership means that ASEAN’s efforts to integrate the economy of the whole region has another work on how to integrate such a diverse country with different economic stages. read more

Timor-Leste’s ASEAN Membership: To Be or Not to Be?

by Muhammad Fazlur Zikra Arifuddin (photo via VOAIndonesia)

As it is known for several years, the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) has always comprised of 10 members. However, since 2002 there is a new player waiting to be accepted within the association. Timor-Leste after gaining its independence from Indonesia has started to show its interest to contribute in ASEAN’s solidarity. Since its independence, Timor-Leste holds the status as an observer state despite its participations in ASEAN Annual Meeting of Foreign Ministers (AMM), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and even agreed to the Southeast Asia’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in 2007. Despite its participation efforts, Timor-Leste has not been granted its membership status although officially applied for in 2011. There are three possible reasons that might answer the question of why Timor-Leste is still not a member of ASEAN, which are due to change of ASEAN’s legal personality, what Timor-Leste has to offer, and foreign influence. read more

Orphanages and their volunteers: A look at Cambodia’s orphanage voluntourism industry

by Amelia Harvey (picture by Tormod Sandtorv)

Orphanages for children are increasing in number globally and throughout much of Southeast Asia. Worldwide, UNICEF has estimated that as many as 8 million girls and boys live in orphanages or institutional residential care facilities where children are stripped from their families, homes and rights [UNICEF 2006 Pg.183]. This essay will focus on the rise of orphanages in Cambodia and the manner in which voluntourism has accelerated this growth.

The growth of orphanages is not unique to Cambodia and is growing internationally, it is estimated that 80 per cent of children living in orphanages are not actual orphans and have at least one living parent. To bring this to perspective, Haiti has experienced a 150 per cent rise in orphanages since the 2010 earthquake, with only 15 per cent of institutions being formally registered. It is estimated by the Haitian government that 80 per cent have at least one living parents and 92 per cent of orphanages are funded from the United States [Batha 2018]. A similar motive continues in Nepal, where 85 per cent of children are believed to have one living parent and in Ghana, which has seen a 1400 per cent increase in the number of orphanages in the past 13 years [UNICEF 2019][Matthews 2019]. read more

ASEAN: A Safe Haven for Ruling Class?

by M. Daffa Syauqi A (Photo by Lance Cpl. Kasey Peacock)

It has been 52 years since the conception of ASEAN in 1967 as the leading inter-state organization in Southeast Asia. Built on the spirit of similar history as former colonialized coutry as well to prevent the spread of Communism in the region, ASEAN has steadily making progress in various aspects within state-building process such as security, economy as well as cultural cooperation. It was further emphasized by the creation of three pillars consisted of Political-Security Community, Economic Community, as well as Socio-Cultural Community (ASEAN, 2015) as the framework for the following actions taken by ASEAN to further integrate the region. However with such progress the capability of ASEAN to enforce the recognition of declaration it made must be questioned, especially when it touched the sphere of Political-Security Community that are still often considered as ‘taboo’ and ‘sensitive’ issue. In this paper the author would like to bring up the issue of ASEAN principles in protecting various ruling class policies and actions within ASEAN state members, the issue will be exemplified in three countries which are Indonesia, Phillippines, and Myanmar. read more

It is confirmed – Jakarta remains the Capital of ASEAN

Written by Truston Yu

On Sunday 6 October at the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia’s (ERIA) editors’ roundtable in Bangkok, ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi affirmed that the ASEAN headquarters will not be relocated and shall remain in Jakarta.

From the moment Indonesian President Joko Widodo first announced plans to relocate the country’s capital city until now, there have been numerous speculations on the future of the ASEAN Secretariat. Looking back with half a year of hindsight, this article examines the uncertainties that are now ascertained, and outlines potential elements of a blueprint for Jakarta as the capital of ASEAN. read more


Written by Muhammad Ammar Hidayahtulloh (Picture: Jeffrey Beall)


Geographically speaking, ASEAN region is one of the most vulnerable regions to disaster in the world. There are several tectonic plates across ASEAN region that potentially cause the earthquake, volcanic eruption, and tsunami. In addition, ASEAN faces the increasing extreme climate events in frequency and intensity due to climate variation and change. Therefore, nearly all ASEAN Member States (AMS) have experienced natural disaster causing the severe devastation in the recent years, such as Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, Yogyakarta Earthquake in 2006, Cyclone Nargis in 2008, Thailand Floods in 2011, Cyclone Haiyan in 2013, Bagan Earthquake in 2016, and Central Sulawesi Earthquake and Tsunami in last September 2018. read more

A Resilient ASEAN?: ASEAN and Resilience in Natural Disaster

By Nisrina Husnul Khotimah and Kevin Iskandar Putra (Picture: Aris Daeng)

 People in Palu and its surrounds are still struggling to survive a month after the 7.5 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami had struck. As of Friday 26th October 2018, the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA) has recorded a total of 2,081 fatalities – a large and dense number for the affected area. Locals and international news agencies were quick to realise that human resources and humanitarian aid did not come quickly enough and hastily turned their attention towards ASEAN as they questioned their role in rescue operations. The high number of deaths is a red flag that signalled that ASEAN is still not resilient towards natural disasters and much assessment is needed on the regional organisation’s response to these events. read more

ASEAN Smart Cities Network: Getting Closer to the Utopia

Written by Nathania Vivian Hermawan (Picture: Basile Morin)


At the 32nd ASEAN Summit, countries approved Singapore’s chairmanship theme, “Innovative and Resilient”, as an articulation of their strategic position in this shifting economic landscape. One of the encapsulation of this theme is ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN), a network that synergise 26 IoT-based cities across the region aiming to solve urban population growth and rapid urbanizations. Looking at current wave of innovation in Southeast Asia, ASEAN has started to turn “sci-fi” smart cities into reality –but surely it takes time. read more

Technopreneurship Among the Youth as Supporting Factors for Economic Sustainability of ASEAN towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Written by Cavin Dennis Tito Siregar

Science and Technology have never stopped advancing since the very first time humans invented fire. The fact that we are experiencing The Fourth Industrial Revolution has opened a wide gate of opportunities to everyone. Those who can make use of such opportunities will prevail. ASEAN, being one of the most diverse regions, shall unite and utilize this opportunity.

For the first time in the history of living standards ordinary people have experienced sustainable growth. This kind of economic behavior has never happened before. read more


Written by Salimah Idzaturrohim (picture: US Department of State)


ASEAN was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, which was initiated by 5 countries, which were Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Today ASEAN has 10 member countries, with Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia (ASEAN, 2018). The unification of the ten countries undeniably shows that ASEAN is composed of various ethnicities, cultures, languages and religions united under the ASEAN name. This shows how ASEAN is really an organization which unifies diversity. More than just a block or geographical area that forms a group of countries, ASEAN is a network, life-world, trading systems and pathways for human contact (Noor, 2017). read more