Sun. Oct 13th, 2019

Events: October

1. International Order and the Historical Journey of China’s Diplomacy

The establishment of the People’s Republic of China was a remarkable event in the 20th century. It opened up a new era in Chinese history and marked a change in the course of world history. China’s diplomacy started prior to the founding of the Republic. The fundamental purpose of China’s diplomacy has been to serve the great historical journey of the Chinese people to gain independence, to start economic reconstruction and to proceed with their modernisation drive. In the initial stage of China’s diplomacy, Mao Zedong Thought paved way for New China to be able to stand on its own feet among the family of nations. In the 1980s, Deng Xiaoping Theory led a major adjustment of China’s diplomacy, and initiated an “independent foreign policy of peace.” In the new decades of the 21st century, the international situation has undergone profound changes. Under the guidance of Xi Jinping’s diplomatic thought, Chinese diplomacy has grown with a profound global vision and grand diplomatic strategy.

  • NTU@one-north, Lecture Theatre 301
  • 1 October 2018
  • 3:30PM – 5:00PM

2. River of Life, River of Death: The Ganges and the future of water politics in India and Asia

India is killing the Ganges, and the Ganges in turn is killing India. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made saving his country’s most sacred but deeply polluted waterway a national priority. His progress has been limited. Journalist Victor Mallet’s award-winning book traces the holy river from source to mouth, and from ancient times to the present day, to understand if the battle to save arguably the world’s most important river is already lost — and what India’s struggle can tell us about the politics and geopolitics of water conflicts all across Asia.

  • Seminar Room 3-1, Level 3, Manasseh Meyer, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
  • 1 October 2018
  • 05:15PM – 06:30PM

3. 50th Anniversary Public Lecture: “Before Southeast Asia: Passages and Terrains” by Prof Wang Gungwu

In the over 50 years since its establishment, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been criticised for not doing enough as an institution, as well as praised for its accomplishments in the face of daunting challenges. Ironically, both critics and supporters of ASEAN have based their judgments on the region’s extraordinary diversity and deep differences. And yet, hundreds of scholars have sought to demonstrate how similar various parts of Southeast Asia are to each other. Diverse, deeply different, and similar – Southeast Asia is indeed a regional paradox.

ISEAS’s 50th anniversary is a good occasion to take stock. This lecture will look back to a time when the concept of a Southeast Asian region had not yet arrived and review what we know. It will ask several questions such as; what were the ingredients that might have brought the terrains closer together? Were there chances that were missed? What key factors led to regular fragmentations? Why was the idea of Southeast Asia as a region attractive?

  • Orchard Hotel Grand Ballroom 1 & 2
  • 3 October 2018
  • 3:00PM – 4:30PM

4. The Future of Development Finance

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) present the world with a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge comes as much from the hard deadline set for achieving them, 2030, as from the goals themselves. The opportunity is for the global development architecture to become more efficient and more relevant and deliver far more impact.

Sir Suma Chakrabarti, EBRD President, will draw upon a lifetime of experience in the development sector and the Bank’s own history to lay out his vision of the future of development.

The EBRD business model, one focussed on investment in the private sector coupled with extensive work on policy reform, is likely to play a major role in that future.

Sir Suma will examine that model closely and also argue that, to deliver the SDGs, Multilateral Development Banks need to work together much more closely as well as leverage their respective strengths.

His lecture will be delivered in the context of the G20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Finance Governance, chaired by Singapore Deputy Prime Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, whose report on the subject will come out the following week.

  • Seminar Room 3-5, Level 3, Manasseh Meyer, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
  • 5 October 2018
  • 12:15PM – 01:30PM

5. The Water-Energy Nexus And Its Extension Into Other Critical Resources

The water-energy nexus involves energy required for (the footprint of) water processes and systems, water required for (the footprint of) energy and power processes and systems, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with energy consumption. The presentation will first focus on the water-energy nexus, emphasizing drivers, trends, tradeoffs, and integrated technology solutions, and then extend into a discussion of further linkages with (a broader nexus of) other critical resources, including food, land, and waste.

  • Seminar Room 3-5 , Manasseh Meyer Building, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
  • 8 October 2018
  • 12:15PM – 01:30PM

6. Portuguese and Dutch Records for Singapore before 1819

In the mid-1950s, a young lecturer in the history department at the University of Singapore named Ian MacGregor embarked on an ambitious project to research the history of pre-1800 Singapore and Malaya by using Portuguese documents. His findings were published in three articles in the Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society between 1955 and 1957. The untimely death of this researcher ended abruptly what appeared to be a promising trajectory in writing the history of Singapore and the region. For the past two decades, research on the Portuguese and other early European sources touching on the region in the 16th and 17th centuries has intensified and, thanks to modern IT facilities that provide easier access to archival materials worldwide, the question has resurfaced as to what the value of the Portuguese sources might be for identifying important events in Singapore’s pre-modern history. This has become especially important against the backdrop of the ongoing preparations for the Singapore Bicentennial in 2019. This seminar should be seen as a contribution to the historiography of pre-1800 Singapore insofar as it critically engages with the different types of materials at hand, compares them with other period European sources, and reviews some of the different materials that have been published in recent years.

  • ISEAS Seminar Room 2
  • 9 October 2018
  • 10:00AM – 11:30AM

7. Autocracy with Democratic Characteristics: How the West Got China Wrong

For decades, Western policymakers and observers assumed that as China’s economy prospers, it will eventually and inescapably democratise. Today, however, the West is alarmed that not only does China appear more authoritarian than before, the new leadership is perceived to harbour ambitions to compete with Western powers for world dominance. This turn of events has triggered fear around the world—today, the so-called “China model” is seen as a fundamental threat to liberal-democratic values.

How did the West get China wrong? Yuen Yuen Ang argues that most observers have misunderstood the political foundation underlying China’s rise. Professor Ang’s research reveals that since market opening, China has in fact pursued significant political reforms, just not in the manner that Western observers expected. Instead of instituting multiparty elections, the reformist leadership realised some of the key benefits of democratisation through bureaucratic reforms, thereby creating a unique political hybrid: autocracy with democratic characteristics. In other words, it is not autocracy but rather the injection of democratic, adaptive qualities into a single-party regime that drives China’s economic dynamism. But bureaucratic reforms cannot substitute for political reforms forever, Ang cautions. Going forward, China must release and channel the immense creative potential of civil society, which would necessitate greater freedom of expression, more public participation, and less state intervention.

  • NTU@one-north, Auditorium
  • 10 October 2018
  • 3:30PM – 5:00PM

8. Trump’s Asia Policy at the Midway Point

President Trump has been the disrupter he promised voters he would be. Yet, in many areas there are signs of continuity. Where are the significant changes and continuities, and what can be expected in the months to come, and why? Lohman will offer an analysis of the America’s Asia policy – where it is headed on trade, defense, and diplomacy as we approach the mid-point of Trump’s first term.

  • The KeyPoint, RSIS
  • 12 October 2018
  • 3:00PM – 4:30PM

9. Rationalising the Conversation About “The China Model”

These days, the term “China model” is fraught with controversy. Most observers assume that the China model equates autocracy, and that learning from this model, therefore, means to embrace authoritarianism. Yuen Yuen Ang reveals that this is a fundamental misconception—it is not autocracy but rather the injection of democratic and adaptive qualities into a single-party system that drives China’s economic dynamism. Equally important, she stresses, learning is not copying. While other developing countries should learn from China’s rich development experiences, they should not copy Chinese practices, just as they should not blindly import Western practices. Professor Ang will reflect upon the misunderstandings surrounding the China model, why it’s important to rationalise this conversation, and the challenges of doing so in a “new cold war” era of polarisation and paranoia.

  • The KeyPoint, RSIS
  • 15 October 2018
  • 3:30PM – 5:00PM

10. The Future Of The Eurozone; Nation Building in Times of Crises

The Economic and Monetary Union was set up in the aftermath of the end of Cold War. A historic step to intertwine the economic and political fates of European nations. After a period of strong growth, the financial crisis and subsequently the debt crisis exposed fundamental design flaws. Many institutional shortcomings have been corrected but the process consumed both time and political capital. Having strengthened the fiscal framework, and after setting up the European Stability Mechanism, the establishment of a Banking Union has been key in regenerating growth throughout the Eurozone. While in some member states legacy issues are still being dealt with, next steps to strengthen the Monetary Union are needed. The completing of the Banking Union is key but for the competitiveness of the Eurozone creating strong and integrated capital markets is perhaps even more important. Serious initiatives on a Eurozone budget are currently discussed. Within member states further structural reforms are needed whilst sovereign debt needs to be reduced to create fiscal space for future economic shocks. And all this in a climate of rising populism, both inside (Italy) and outside (Hungary, UK, US) the Eurozone. It’s truly “nation building in times of crises”.

  • Seminar Room 3-1, Level 3, Manasseh Meyer Building, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
  • 15 October 2018
  • 05:15PM – 06:30PM

11. Southern (Dis)Comfort: Strategic Competition and Uncertainty in Southern Asia

Building on the Stimson Center’s “Southern (Dis)Comfort” series with War on the Rocks, this presentation will apply new scholarship on time horizons and international politics to the analysis of strategic competition in Southern Asia. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the Doklam standoff, and China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean have reduced uncertainty about China’s long-term intentions. While these actions could exacerbate strategic competition, events such as the Wuhan Summit suggest both China and India may now have strong incentives to reinject uncertainty into regional dynamics with the aim of ameliorating competitive pressures.

  • The KeyPoint, RSIS
  • 17 October 2018
  • 10:00AM – 11:30AM

12. A Rules-based Order? The Challenge of Building a “Free and Open” Indo-Pacific Region

  • The KeyPoint, RSIS
  • 31 October 2018
  • 10:30AM – 12:00PM
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The IAS Gazette is a news site run by undergraduates from the Singapore Institute of Management’s International Affairs Society (IAS). Founded in 2018, it traces its roots to The Capital, a now defunct bimonthly magazine previously under the IAS.

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