2023 YSEALI ACADEMY SEMINARS
PUBLIC POLICY SEMINAR CURRICULUM
From geopolitics to geoeconomics: Southeast Asia in the whirlwind of global competition
November 27th – December 1st, 2023
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
I. TIME AND LOCATION
- Info-session webinar: September 4, 2023, 20:00 – 21:00 Hanoi time (tentative)
- Application deadline: September 12, 2023.
- Announcement of results: Mid October, 2023
- Pre-seminar online sessions: November 20 – 23, 2023
- In-person seminar: Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam
About 35 YSEALI fellows who are young professionals between the ages of 25-40, highly qualified and motivated, from all 10 ASEAN member states and Timor-Leste.
Participants are required to commit at least 4 online hours for pre-seminar tasks (group assignments) from November 20 – 23, 2023, and at least 42 hours to in-person seminar activities in Vietnam from November 27 – December 1, 2023.
Therefore, participants are highly recommended to arrange their work to be fully committed during the period to participate productively in and achieve the most from the seminar.
III. OBJECTIVES AND LEARNING OUTCOME
Build a network with other Southeast Asian professionals for future collaboration in public affairs, including economic development.
Upon graduation, fellows are expected to have a comprehensive picture of the Southeast Asian landscape of geopolitics and geoeconomics, including emerging trends, opportunities, challenges, and solutions. Fellows would also understand and apply basic and practical political economic frameworks and policy tools to analyzing cross-border political and economic issues.
IV. THEME AND TOPICS
1. Major theme – From geopolitics to geoeconomics: Southeast Asia in the whirlwind of global competition
Over the past several years, Southeast Asia has been facing uncertainties and challenges of global political and economic competition e.g., the increasing US-China competition, the COVID pandemic, the Ukraine war followed by global energy crisis and inflation, China’s economic slowdown, global supply chain disruption and relocation, and Chinese coercion in the South China Sea2. According to the 2023 survey by ISEAS – a well-known Singapore-based thinktank, the top three concerns of Southeast Asian people include unemployment and economic recession, climate change and geopolitical tensions; nevertheless, ASEAN is not capable to cope with current economic and political challenges.3 While Southeast Asia’s economic growth remains resilient, the post-pandemic recovery of the region is still uncertain and vulnerable to Chinese and US market. From a historical perspective, Southeast Asia has been the battleground, at times literally, for geopolitical influence and then geoeconomic competition between great powers.
How do geoeconomic and geopolitical challenges arising from current global competition affect Southeast Asia? Are there any opportunities? What may come next? What should Southeast Asian policymakers do, for central and local governments? The YSEALI Academy Public Policy seminar aims at addressing those questions, with a focus and perspective on policymaking. Following and leveraging the past seminar on economic integration, it will explore the interplay between economic, political, and security aspects of Southeast Asian development. It will also address critical problems for Southeast Asia economic-security nexus, including economic growth, FDI and supply chain relocation, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) , the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and infrastructure, security tensions (e.g., South China Sea, Taiwan, Ukraine war), and the role of ASEAN.
2. Seminar topics
Topic 1 –Introduction of geoeconomics, geopolitics, and Southeast Asian economies
As the background for the whole seminar, this section first introduces key concepts and frameworks to understand basic relevant issues of Southeast Asian geopolitics, security, and geoeconomics. It then provides an overview of Southeast Asian economies.
Topic 2 – The geoeconomics of Southeast Asia amid global and local competition
After the fundamentals in the previous section, this part will investigate the geoeconomics of Southeast Asia. Key discussions include bilateral connections between Southeast Asian economies and the world’s leading economic powers such as the US, China, EU, and Japan. It also analyzes the political impacts of economic integration such as FTAs between ASEAN and other partners, RCEP, BRI, IPEF. Moreover, it explores into how Southeast Asian economies are influenced and may navigate global turbulence such as COVID, supply chain disruption, inflation, energy tension, FED rates increase, and US-China chip war.
Topic 3 – The geopolitics of Southeast Asia amid US-China competition
This section dives deep into the geopolitical dynamics in Southeast Asia, especially how the region is influenced by great powers. Apart from challenges, it also explores any opportunities that Southeast Asia can seize and leverage from the competition among great powers. It will discuss the geoeconomic-geopolitical nexus and analyze critical impacts of global and regional tensions on Southeast Asia e.g., Ukraine War, Taiwan flashpoint and maritime disputes.
Topic 4 – The role of ASEAN and policymaking
Besides navigating and enhancing bilateral ties with great powers, Southeast Asia may adopt and leverage domestic, regional, and multilateral institutions to cope with the geopolitical and geoeconomic challenges. The last section examines how ASEAN and domestic policymaking may (or may not) address above-mentioned problems.
V. SEMINAR FORMAT AND STRUCTURE
1. Seminar format
The seminar is conducted in diverse formats to maximize the engagement of participants, including lectures, field trips, panel discussions, team projects (discussed below), and class discussions.
Team project: fellows from at least three nations will work in a team and work on a project related to the seminar theme and topics. They are assigned in groups and start working on the project the week before the seminar. At the end of the seminar, they will deliver a presentation on various issues, from a regional, national, or local perspective. The presentation topics may include, for instance, the economic growth, BRI, FDI, infrastructure, supply chain, the policymaking, regional conflicts, impacts of global challenges...involving one or several Southeast Asian nations or major cities or major industries. Comparative and cross-nation analysis and views are appreciated in these team projects which are expected to add practical, diverse, bottom-up, and updated examples and perspectives of Southeast Asia to the seminar.
There are about thirty sessions in total over two weeks (Monday – Friday), 6 sessions/day, with each session of 90 minutes. There will be eleven lectures, 2 panel discussions, 1 or 2 field trips, 2 workshops for leadership skills, 10 sessions for teamwork and team presentations, 1 welcoming session, 1 seminar review session and 1 closing session.