Project Outline

Project Rationale

The political and economic integration of East Asia is proceeding with a rapid pace, led by governments and business actors. While this push for regionalism benefits East Asian economies, security and peace, socio-cultural integration involving all of society is lagging behind. Therefore, it has even been argued that the push for regionalism is an elitist project, based only on a top-down, government-driven wish for regional identity.

In order to respond to the apparent lack of inclusion, societies – especially civil society – need to engage in a process of mutual understanding of our common heritage, values, and eventually, East Asian identity. In Cha-am, Thailand in 2009, ASEAN nations realized this critical gap and reaffirmed their goal of “a community of caring societies, conscious of its ties of history, aware of its cultural heritage and bound by a common regional identity” in the “Roadmap for an ASEAN Community”. This consensus was upheld by partners within the ASEAN+3 Cooperation Work Plan (2007-2017) as well.

Shared interests go hand in hand with mutual understanding and respect for the cultural richness of the region. All of this is necessary for fostering further economic exchanges, as well as for good neighborly relations and peace in the region. Thus, socio-cultural integration is a step-by-step process, based on exchange and interactions on a personal level. Education is a crucial element in this process. ASEAN Plus Three (APT), in particular the Plus Three countries, have played an active role in supporting activities relating to educational promotion and cooperation. According to the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Work Plan (2007-2017) adopted at the 10th Anniversary of the APT Cooperation, APT countries agreed to promote education at all levels, support research activities and networking of scholars, and cultivate an East Asian identity through promotion of ASEAN Studies and East Asian Studies in the region.

There have not been enough higher education options that address both ASEAN and East Asian issues. This is where CEAS hopes to intervene. By supporting its members to undertake regionally relevant research, to create teaching materials and to collaborate with each other, CEAS aims to have important effects on the quality of education. University students will go on to work in diverse sectors, from companies to regional organizations or NGOs to government agencies. They are the ideal multipliers to carry their understanding and knowledge of East Asia into the institutions where they will work.


In order to guarantee a participatory course of action in creating the joint ASEAN and East Asian Studies, it was very important that representatives of universities from all APT countries take part in the drafting process. A series of workshops was seen as the best-suited forum to draft and collaborate on the papers that comprised the three CEAS volumes. Knowledge, experience, and lessons drawn from all ASEAN Member countries and the Plus Three helped not only to create a balanced and comprehensive trio of books, but to serve as an engine for further collaboration in other educational projects.


Three edited volumes

Advancing the Regional Commons in the New East Asia

Institutionalizing East Asia: Mapping and Reconfiguring Regional Cooperation 

Regional Community Building in East Asia: Countries in Focus


Scholars from ASEAN Plus Three countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan and South Korea)

Also see: Participating Countries at Glance, Member Profiles

Host Institution (Location of CEAS Secretariat)

Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University, Thailand

Financial Sources

ASEAN + 3 Cooperation Fund

Supporting Institutions

  1. ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta
  2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand
  3. Knowledge Network Institute of Thailand
  4. Thailand Research Fund


May 2012 – December 2016
(Note: Excluding the preparatory period)

Workshop Schedule

  1. 1st Preparatory Workshop
    (December 2010, Bangkok, Thailand)

    Funded by Thammasat University and the Knowledge Network Institute of Thailand

  2. 2nd Preparatory Workshop
    (July 2011, Bangkok, Thailand)

    Collaborators created a network of universities and set calendar and agenda of cooperation. Funded by Thammasat University and the Knowledge Network Institute of Thailand.

  3. 1st Official Workshop
    (May 2012, Pattaya, Thailand)

    Authors planned their chapters. Funded by ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Fund.

  4. 2nd Official Workshop
    (December 2012, Bangkok, Thailand)

    Authors presented chapter outlines. Funded by ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Fund.

  5. 3rd Official Workshop
    (June 2013, Bangkok, Thailand)

    Authors discussed and improved the chapter drafts. Funded by ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Fund.

  6. 4th Official Workshop
    (January 2014, Bangkok, Thailand)

    Authors discussed and improved chapter drafts. The group also discussed publishing options and approved book proposals. Funded by ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Fund.

  7. 5th Official Workshop
    (June 2014, Bangkok, Thailand)

    Authors finalized chapters and structure of books. Funded by ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Fund