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Launch of MacArthur Foundation Asia Security Initiative

Date: 29 May 2009
Venue: The Four Seasons Hotel, Singapore

About the Launch

The RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies received US$ 2.2 million from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to conduct research in non-traditional security on Friday, 29 May.

The grant given to the Centre is the largest received among the 27 grantee research institutes. It forms the lion’s share of the US$ 2.5 million grant given to the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) to conduct research in non-traditional security and regional security cooperation.
(please click here for the group picture of the grantee research and core partner institutes.)

The Multilateral and Regionalism Programme in RSIS is the other beneficiary of the grant.

The funding for a period of three years is part of a US$ 68 million Asia Security Initiative by the MacArthur Foundation to develop new ideas to address Asia’s security challenges. The Initiative focuses on three themes: strengthening regional cooperation, preventing conflict in Northeast Asia and building international cooperation to respond to internal challenges.

In his keynote address, ASEAN Secretary-General Dr Surin Pitsuwan welcomed the Initiative, saying that it “is helping us ask and define that question of how to manage security challenges in a flat world where barriers and borders used to protect us.”

Dr Surin Pitsuwan
Dr Surin delivering the keynote address

Echoing similar sentiments was RSIS Dean Barry Desker, who noted that the Initiative is “a significant endorsement of the importance of Asian security issues and recognition of its considerable implications for the world at large.”

The grant will also give the RSIS Centre for NTS Studies access to “cutting-edge research to respond to challenges that affect both the well-being as well as the security of states and societies in the region”, he added.

The RSIS Centre for NTS Studies will lead a cluster of seven research institutes and spearhead research on non-traditional security issues facing Asia such as climate change, environment and human security, energy security, as well as internal conflicts.

Charting the Centre’s research direction and development under the Initiative is the Head of the RSIS Centre for NTS Studies, Associate Professor Mely Caballero-Anthony, who is also the Secretary-General of the Consortium for Non-Traditional Security Studies in Asia (NTS-Asia). She has done extensive work in regionalism and regional security in the Asia-Pacific, multilateral security cooperation, politics and international relations in ASEAN, conflict prevention and management, as well as human security. As the work of the Initiative gains momentum, she will apply her expertise to leading three programmes that have been established within the Centre to advance research in the field of non-traditional security.

These programmes are namely, the Internal and Cross-border Conflict Programme – which will investigate the dynamics of internal conflicts, human security, and multi-level and multilateral approaches to conflict prevention and resolution in East Asia; the Climate Change, Environmental Security and Natural Disasters Programme – which will study the linkages between state and social resilience vis-à-vis regional climate security, i.e. threats posed to countries due to the effects of climate change; and the Energy and Human Security Programme which will examine issues of energy and human security, including the political risks involved in nuclear energy.

Research findings will be used to engage policymakers on the importance of non-traditional security in guiding political responses to non-traditional security emergencies and develop strategies to mitigate the risks to state and human security.

In addition, the Centre will be organising a series of events as part of efforts to boost research. In the pipeline is a climate change conference to be held later this year to discuss climate change issues and its attendant security threats, the establishment of a Responsibility to Protect (R2P) working group, as well as the organization of an R2P workshop early next year.

Click the following for the video speeches:

  1. MacArthur Foundation President Jonathan Fanton
  2. ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan
  3. Dean of RSIS, Amb. Barry Desker
Click here for the news release of the event. (pdf format)
Click here for the news report by 938LIVE. (pdf format)
Click here for the news article by TODAY. (pdf format)


Posted on: 29/5/2009 8:30:00 AM  |  Topic: Other NTS Issues


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