Regional Program

The Center for Khmer Studies Mid-Career Program

Exploring Conflict in the ASEAN region

With the support of the Ford Foundation

mekong river

Year 1/2015:

Cross-Border Political Conflicts

Week 1 (9-16 August 2015), Siem Reap, Cambodia
Week 2 (15-22 November 2015), Bangkok, Thailand

Program Description

For more than ten years, the Center for Khmer Studies (CKS) has been successfully running academic programs to promote international scholarly exchange. Building on the strength of its experience in research, training and on its institutional network, the following four year program will address current academic and professional needs among Cambodians and other Southeast Asian from the Mekong region. Following specific requests formulated from our alumni and partners, this program is tailored to mid-career professionals who wish to develop their skills in order to have a greater positive impact throughout their career and to become part of a dynamic network of researchers and decision-makers in the region.

Program objectives

With the opening of the ASEAN borders scheduled for 2015, as well as current political and social changes in Cambodia and the opening of Myanmar to the outside world, this program is timely in that it will assist scholars, researchers, civil servants and development professionals become critical thinkers, decision makers and future agents of change in the region by engaging in both theoretical and empirical analysis of cross-border issues as they relate explicitly to conflicts in the ASEAN region.
Program Format & Duration

The program will entail two weeks of intensive coursework, seminars, group exercises, applied skills training and individual research. In 2015, fifteen program participants will convene for two distinct one-week periods in Cambodia in August and Thailand in November. In the interim, participants will work on their chosen research project in their home countries under the online supervision and guidance of the Regional Program Instructor and with the input of program lecturers and facilitators.

Week 1 will take place in Siem Reap in August and will be dedicated to participatory lecture/seminars, work assignments, group exercises and presentations. Participants will use assigned reading materials on a range of subjects relevant to cross-border and ASEAN security as preparation for active participation in lectures and seminars. At the end of Week 1, the participants will also have received training in monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and quantitative and qualitative research methodologies.

In the interim between Week 1 and Week 2, participants will use their knowledge of analytical tools to conduct their individual research project focusing on a subject of ASEAN conflict in their home country. Participant research projects should be realistically framed, with clear and achievable goals so that the participants can use his/ her knowledge, contacts and skills gained from the program, to complete it successfully. In the course of these two and a half months, they will be in regular communication with the Regional Program Instructor, as well as with guest lecturers and fellow program participants.

Week 2 will hopefully take place in Bangkok in November, 2015. Participants will resume attending seminars on broad issues of security threats in the region and working in groups while expanding their knowledge of advanced research methods and monitoring and evaluation tools. A day-long fieldtrip will enable them to apply M&E skills. Week 2 will also provide the opportunity for presenting the results of individual research projects and culminate with discussion of continuing regional collaboration and intensification of cross-border research networks.

Program Outcomes

The Participants will have developed their ability to better formulate research projects, use data collection methods, develop their critical inquiry and analytical skills to undertake useful research. Research ultimately aims to increase knowledge to better understand, document and initiate positive changes to current practices.
The Participants will have a better understanding of the process of monitoring and evaluation and a good grasp of key practical tools to determine how a research project or policy is successful in fulfilling its intended objectives. These skills will allow both scholars and development professionals to ask strategic questions, assess progress, identify problems and make necessary adjustments that will help improve strategic decision-making, accountability and the impact of their work.

The two weeks of intensive engagement will result in the production of preliminary white papers based on both individual research conducted during the three month interim period and discussions and critiques that will take place in the course of week 2. The white papers produced will be authoritative reports or advisory documents, which seek to help scholars, professionals and civil servants better understand an issue, solve a problem or take an informed decision.

In the course of Year 4 (capstone year of the program) a conference will gather all participants and instructors from the three preceding years to present their research findings and initiate peer reviews. CKS will publish the conference proceedings in order to make them available to scholars, policy makers and development professionals.
Who Should Apply

This course is especially designed for fifteen mid-career professionals at academic and government institutions and the development community from the five selected countries. We encourage scholars, development professionals and civil servants, particularly those involved in the development of social and economic policy to apply.

Year 1

In the first year of the project, the CKS Mid-Career Program Exploring Conflict in the ASEAN Region will focus on cross-border issues. With the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) preparing for regional integration under the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, this intensive two week program will enable participants from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam to research, analyze, and critically assess the political, economic, human rights and environmental challenges that the five countries will face.

Given that these countries exhibit numerous social and economic inequalities and differ significantly in terms of population size, ethnic and cultural constitution, rates of economic growth, natural resource endowments, among other socio-economic variables, their integration into the AEC will become a critical issue for both legal and illegal cross-border trade involving people, goods and services. To this end, the analysis of cross-border themes will enable participants to gain theoretical knowledge of issues that will inform their current professional work as well as, provide them with applied-research, practical monitoring and evaluation skills to enhance their capacity as critical thinkers and decision makers.

Click Here for a Draft schedule of daily activities