About The Centre


Southeast Asia Research Centre

The Southeast Asia Research Centre (SEARC) was inaugurated on 27 February 2001 as a faculty-based research centre within the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (now the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, CLASS).  It is the only research Centre focused on Southeast Asia in Hong Kong.

SEARC has established a strong international reputation as an important setting for the study of political, economic, and social issues in contemporary Southeast Asia. While receiving funding in most years from City University of Hong Kong (CityU), SEARC members have actively sought competitive external grant funding, helping to foster a steady output of high-quality publications and working papers.  The Centre has also attracted many respected scholars as visitors who, in carrying out research projects and conducting seminars, have further energized the Centre.  And in regularly sponsoring international conferences, workshops, public addresses, and roundtables, SEARC has contributed widely to public debate and intellectual life at CityU.  


The mission of the Southeast Asia Research Centre is to maintain its international reputation as a centre of excellence in academic and applied studies of contemporary Southeast Asia.  In keeping, however, with new priorities set by City University; greater attention is now given to theoretical and cross-disciplinary analysis, through which the intention of addressing real-world challenges in national political systems, workplace inequalities, gender relations, and disaster management.  SEARC thus seeks to attract competitive external grant funding, to collaborate internationally with other institutions, to conduct disciplinary-based and cross-disciplinary research in compelling academic debates in the social sciences, to generate high-quality research publications, and to reach the public through open events and media engagement.


The objectives of the Southeast Asia Research Centre are:

  • to advance the Centre's international reputation and City University's standing by researching political, economic, and social developments in contemporary Southeast Asia;
  • to obtain competitive external grant funding;
  • to extend links to scholars and institutions researching other parts of the developing world, especially China and Northeast Asia, whose concerns resonate with those of the Centre;
  • to conduct disciplinary-based and cross-disciplinary research;
  • to address major debates in comparative politics, political economy, and comparative sociology;
  • to produce high quality research publications on contemporary Southeast Asia;
  • to engage Hong Kong citizens, especially civil society organizations, through open forums and media engagement; and
  • to enhance the study of Southeast Asia in Hong Kong and to increase understanding of the region within the CityU and Hong Kong communities.

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