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July 23, 2008

Asean Studies Centre launched in Singapore
The Asean Studies Centre (ASC), a unit within the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Iseas), is devoted to coming up with ways to strengthen regional institutions and their cooperation, reported Singapore daily the Strait Times on

It has been operating since March, but was formally launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong when he opened the 41st Asean Ministerial Meeting yesterday.

While Iseas has previously focused on the academic study of South-east Asia, the ASC will take a practical approach to its studies, which are aimed at producing policy recommendations for bringing Asean members closer together.

“The Asean Studies Centre will work closely with the Asean Secretariat to undertake policy research with Asean, and will look at measures to help the organisation grow new capabilities, strengthen its institutions and enhance

cooperation among its members.” Lee said.

The ASC is currently involved in documenting the Asean-led response to the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. It will present the resulting publication to the 14th Asean Summit in Bangkok at the end of the year.

It will also look into subjects such as Asean statistics and legal matters relevant to Asean cooperation.

The centre is headed by Rodolfo Severino from the Philippines, who joined Iseas as a senior visiting research fellow after serving as Asean secretary-general from 1998 to 2002.

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