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 Events Summary 2020

A Public Lecture On - On China: Growth Prospects, Domestic Politics and Geostrategy in the 21st Century at 09.30 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. Wednesday, 29th January 2020. 

This public forum features a keynote lecture by Professor Dwight H. Perkins who has studied China and its development for nearly 70 years, since 1954 as a Cornell undergraduate student, including trips to China and meetings with former Chinese leader Deng Xaioping in the 1970s. Professor Perkins has authored numerous books and articles on China, as his profile on google and wikipedia attests. He has also been consultant and advisor to many committees dealing with China and United States-China relations. I can personally assure you that this is a rare opportunity to listen to one of the world’s most authoritative voices on China. Unlike other forums, we will focus mainly on Professor Perkins’s speech, with just one discussant to tease out local and regional implications. 

A Public Forum On – Finding Balance and "Happiness": Individuals, States and the International System at 10.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. Monday, 20th January 2020. 

Happiness is hard to come by and difficult to define. It derives from a complex and moving balance between work and living, between state and society, between faith and reason, encompassing much more than just what gross domestic product and national income stand for. While happiness can be subjective and tough to measure, it is generally considered to be associated with biological, behavioural, and public policy concerns. In a three-level framework of individuals, states, and the international system, this public forum shares experiences and expertise from the Nordic countries that have been ranked consistently among the top of all societies across the world for overall well-being and happiness.
We will start with a keynote talk by Mr Meik Wiking who is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute and New York Times Bestselling Author. He will address issues such as how happiness should be measured, how to convert wealth into well-being, explaining why the Nordic model always top global happiness rankings. In addition, we will also listen to local experts who have worked on and practiced health and wellness in Thailand. 

(March 10, 2020) Geopolitics in the time of the coronavirus 

If the saying holds that China's sneeze metaphorically inflicts a cold on the world, then mainland South-east Asian countries should be stricken with acute pneumonia by now. But such is not the case. 

(March 6, 2020) Challenges from outside parliament 

While it managed to survive the recent censure debate more comfortably that it had anticipated, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's government is now at a new crossroads. While the threat from inside parliament has subsided owing to the opposition's disarray, challenges from outside the legislative chamber, on the streets and in the court of public opinion are likely to intensify. 

(February 28, 2020) Context is decisive in Thai high politics 

In Thailand's high politics where governments survive or succumb, context is everything. After two decades of a political merry-go-round, marked by a series of elections, street protests, military coups, and judicial interventions only to end up with a problematic post-election rule under military domination, no deep expertise is needed to understand what has been happening in this land. 

(March 3, 2020) What might have been at Vegas summit 

The Asean officials preparing for the March 14 special Asean-US Summit were greatly relieved when the White House announced on Friday that the Las Vegas rendezvous would be postponed due to Covid-19 fears. Indeed, with exactly two weeks to go before the event, the Asean side was still wondering what the "deliverable milestones" of their summit were likely to be. 

(February 18, 2020) Asean-EU ties: seeking a middle path 

Joseph Borrell, the new EU foreign minister, revealed down-to-earth pragmatism in a recent article, writing: "We Europeans must adjust our mental maps to deal with the world as it is, not as we hoped it would be." If this is the fresh path that the EU is following, Europe may become the most respected and powerful grouping of nations in the world. And it could all start right here in this region. 

(January 28, 2020) Is digging Kra Canal still a pipe dream? 

Whenever the Kra Canal emerges as a news headline, two standard reactions occur. First of all, there is a very strong but familiar exclamation of "again" or aw-eik-leu and a revitalised sense of disbelief that the time has actually come once more for another debate about the great isthmus.