The Association for Asian Studies annual conference this year was held in Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, D.C. from 22 to 25 March 2018. It was my first time attending this grand conference, and I was fortunate to be selected to receive a travel grant from the Southeast Asia Council (SEAC) to take part in a Rising Voices in Southeast Asian Studies Panel on Environmental Issues and Human Health in the region. The panel was entitled “Airs, Waters, Places and the Peoples Who Use and Abuse All of Them in Southeast Asia” chaired by Professor Michele Thompson of Southern Connecticut State University.
I was invited to speak at the EU-Malaysia International Discourse on Palm Oil Sustainability, organized by the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry in conjunction with the International Greentech & Eco Products Exhibition & Conference (IGEM) 2017. I was part of the panel discussing “Better understanding of the different points of views of palm oil in the foreign market”. I offered the academic POV and discussed ideas like Environmental Hyperopia and Eco-Imperialism in explaining how academicians would frame the perception problem in the palm oil industry.
I was invited to be part of a new book project on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) led by Prof Dr. Ronald L. Holzhacker at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. As part of this project, a Working Conference on Regional and National Approaches toward the Sustainable Development Goals in Southeast Asia and ASEAN was organised in Fakultas Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Jogjakarta in October.
I attended the 8th Centre for International Law Studies (CILS) International Conference on State Boundary Affairs held at the Faculty of Law, Universitas Tanjungpura, as one of the invited speakers. Even though I have limited expertise on legal issues, I was asked to speak on the international relations surrounding transboundary air pollution (haze) crossing the boundaries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The title of my talk was entitled “Revisiting the ‘Myth’ of the ASEAN Way: Recent Legal Developments on Transboundary Haze”. The Prezi for my talk can be found here.
PAHMI is one of the conferences that I try to attend every year if possible. The subject matter is a close fit with my research interests and the conference is an excellent opportunity to hear and reflect on scholarly views from ‘across the pond’. This year, the conference was held at the Faculty of Humanities, Universitas Indonesia.
I presented a paper entitled “Palm Oil Intensification and Expansion in Indonesia and Malaysia: Environmental and Socio-Political Considerations”. The paper will be expanded into a full-length article for publication, as one of the outputs for the British Academy Project on Evidence-Based Forestry in Indonesia. The Prezi for the presentation can be found here.
ICAS 10 was a very productive academic experience for me. During the convention, I had the opportunity to be part of two panels. The first was a panel organized by the Southeast Asian Studies Regional Exchange Program (SEASREP) entitled Emerging and Continuing Trends in Southeast Asian Studies. I was invited to share my thoughts on the position of Environmental Politics in the field. I shared a paper entitled “Trends in Environmental Studies in Southeast Asia: Transboundary Haze”. The paper offered a rough literature review of Environmental Politics in Southeast Asia and also some recommendations for more inclusion of the area in the syllabi of Southeast Asian studies programmes around the region. The piece will also be included in an upcoming special edition of SEASREP’s Regional Journal of Southeast Asian Studies.