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The ASEAN Paradox: Brilliant but Unknown

  • Columbia University International Affairs Building Rm 918 (map)

Professor Mahbubani’s book, co-authored with Southeast Asian historian Jeffery Sng, aims to familiarise the lay reader with ASEAN and the Southeast Asian region. ASEAN is arguably the most successful regional organisation after the EU. Its success has come in spite of the vast ethnic, religious, cultural, political and linguistic diversity of Southeast Asia, as well as acrimony and tensions amongst its members at the time of its formation. Besides bringing peace to a troubled region and becoming the seventh-largest economy in the world, ASEAN has also provided a platform for other countries with interests in the region - including all the great powers, and even North Korea - to meet and interact in a setting defined by norms of amity and cooperation. It thus provides a valuable case study for positive multilateral cooperation in a time of growing fears of a clash of civilisations and, in many ways, has served as a catalyst for peace in the region and beyond. ASEAN is also emerging as one of the most significant economies in the world. By 2050, or even earlier, it will become the fourth largest economy in the world.

Hosted by Southeast Asian Students Initiative at Columbia University, Columbia Weatherhead East Asian Institute, and Asia Pacific Affairs Council