ANU Malaysia Update 2016

Image: Book cover for Ibrahim Ali’s The Misunderstood Man.

I’ve spent the day involved with the Malaysia Update, a day of talks hosted by the ANU Coral Bell School of Asia-Pacific Affairs.

Highlights included a panel on gender and women in politics featuring members of parliament Fuziah Saleh and Alice Lau, which I chaired, and talks by Azrul Mohd Khalid from IDEAS and Ibrahim Ali from PERKASA.

More information, along with a full program, is available from the ANU website.

Australian Libraries and Asian Studies

Image: National Library of Australia.

The recent conference of the Asian Studies Association of Australia featured a roundtable by librarians and library users on Asian Studies collections. I spoke at this roundtable and made the point that Malaysia’s 2013 election generated a vast amount of printed and digital ephemera that could be lost if Australian libraries do not make a point of collecting it. Perhaps if moves are made to develop a national collections strategy for Asian Studies materials, then this situation could be rectified.

I spoke at this roundtable and made the point that Malaysia’s 2013 election generated a vast amount of printed and digital ephemera that could be lost if Australian libraries do not make a point of collecting it. Perhaps if moves are made to develop a national collections strategy for Asian Studies materials, then this situation could be rectified in line with an agreed set of priorities for libraries interested in Asia.

A full report of this discussion is available from the Australian Library and Information Association.

ASAA Conference 2016

Image: Cover of the ASAA Conference Program for 2016.

I presented some work in progress at the 2016 conference of the Asian Studies Association of Australia at the ANU, in a panel called Mobility, Place and Displacement in Histories of the Left in Indonesia and Malaysia, chaired by Dr Vannessa Hearman of the University of Sydney.

I talked about the Tenth Regiment of the Malayan People’s Army and their project to create a new kind of Malay Muslim from their marginal location in hiding during and after the Malayan Emergency.

KITLV Southeast Asia Update

Today I had the pleasure of speaking at this year’s Southeast Asia Update, organised by the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), in the first Round Table session of the day, titled ‘Religious Renewal’. The discussion featured themes such as the continued reality of religious plurality and diversity alongside strong efforts by state and non-state actors to generate new orthodoxies. Picture: KITLV.

Violence, Displacement & Muslim Movements in Southeast Asia

Today I spent the day with colleagues in a fantastic workshop on Violence, Displacement & Muslim Movements in Southeast Asia, hosted by the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies and the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society. The full program is available from the KITLV website.

Asian Engagement Means Talking to Muslims

 

Stock photo representing multiculturalism, selected by The Advertiser.

Today, I hosted a large-scale public discussion event called InterculturAdelaide, focused on policy innovation to better equip Australians to engage with our own diversity, along with that of our Asian neighbours. This is the text of an opinion piece that I published today to accompany the event, in which I argue that Islamophobia in the Australian community can hamper not only social cohesion at home, but also our capacity for genuine Asian engagement.

Engagement with Muslims is an inescapable part of our search for a prosperous future in Asia

IN 1994, Indonesian journalist Ratih Hardjono published her book on Australians, who she pithily referred to as the White Tribe of Asia. Her book traced the history of debates about immigration since the White Australia policy was abolished in the late 1970s.

As Hardjono pointed out, Australia was a nation experiencing burgeoning diversity, and the insecurity that sometimes accompanied that diversity was consistently belied by its advantages on the ground.

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ICAS9 Winds up in Adelaide

Today, the Ninth International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS9) closed after 5 huge days of debate and discussion which brought nearly 1,000 Asia scholars from all over the world to Adelaide. The conference has been a great example of how we can all do so much more by creating clever, win-win partnerships, and always building as much community engagement in to our initiatives as possible. Read more

Welcome to InterculturAdelaide @ ICAS9

 

Front cover of program brochure for InterculturAdelaide. Picture: Nazia Ejaz.

Today, I hosted a major public event called InterculturAdelaide. The event introduction that I wrote for the brochure is below, along with my welcome to participants.

Introduction

InterculturAdelaide is a major public policy summit and action research project. It aims to bring together scholars, policymakers and other stakeholders to consider the idea of “interculturality”—broadly defined as a set of cultural skills supporting openness and adaptivity. The day’s proceedings will encompass issues related to Australia’s own diverse population, and to Australia’s international relationships across the Asian region.

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Media Release for InterculturAdelaide

Here’s the media release that the University of South Australia wrote to publicise InterculturAdelaide. The University of Adelaide also publicised the event online.

Creating citizens of the world in intercultural Adelaide

What makes a society operate in peace, harmony and prosperity – luck, goodwill, strategy and legislation, or a combination of factors?

It’s one of many questions to be explored when UniSA’s International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding joins with the Government of South Australia and the University of Adelaide to consider the significance of diversity in our community at the InterculturAdelaide summit on July 9.

Summit convenor UniSA’s Dr Amrita Malhi says InterculturAdelaide will offer important opportunities to consider how notions of multiculturalism that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s have evolved.

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How does Malaysian Federalism Influence How Land is Managed?

Federalism workshop flyer, issued by the Penang Institute.

I’ve just participated in a workshop convened to consider whether it might be possible to innovate the way Malaysian federalism functions, both in theory and in practice. As the present system is a highly centralised federation, it seems this question is increasingly important to state governments wishing to test their position in relation to federal power since the “political tsunami” elections of 2008 and 2013. Read more

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