Highlights of the Ninth ACAS International Conference

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Twenty-four papers on various aspects of social justice in Asia were presented at the Ninth International ACAS Conference held August 24 at Leong Hall Auditorium. The research reports, featured in nine panels, dwelt on state-building and human rights, the position of women and LGBT+ individuals in the Asian sociopolitical sphere, the war on drugs and the culture of impunity in the Philippines, and the positions of the state and church on social justice.

Dr. Eduardo Araral, Jr., associate professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, delivered the keynote speech. In his address Dr. Araral pointed to an “Asian dilemma” in which the forces of globalization, technology, market reforms and urbanization are the same forces that drive inequality, dehumanization, exploitation, conflict and environmental degradation in the region. He recommended reforms to minimize inequality, such as tax and education reforms.

Prof. Benedict Kerkvliet, emeritus Professor, Australian National University, spoke on the victims of injustice and other voices of public political criticism in Vietnam.

258 academics and professionals from nine Asian countries attended the Ninth ACAS International Conference on the theme “Social Justice, Diversity, and Development.” The Asian countries represented apart from the Philippines are Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, Cambodia, and China.

Thirty-six schools and universities from various regions in the Philippines were represented in the conference. Among them are the University of the Philippines, University of Makati, Colegio de San Lorenzo, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, De La Salle University, University of Santo Tomas, Batangas State University, Asian Social Institute, and the the Ateneo universities in Manila, Naga, Cagayan de Oro.

Among the professionals are representatives from Thailand National Institute of Development, Japan International Cooperation Agency, PAGCOR, ABS-CBN, and civil society organizations.

An Indonesian musical group – Tim Angklung Universitas Singaperbangsa Karawang, an ensemble from Universitas Islam Kediri (UNISKA) – played music on the Angklung, a musical instrument made out of bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame.

The conference was held with the support of the Confucius Institute, Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies and the Indonesian Embassy.

Selected papers from the conference will be published in the journal Social Transformations: Journal of the Global South.

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