Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

The UP Asian Center’s Bugkos Research Program will host a public forum on comparative politics and economic development, “The Philippines and Thailand: A Reversal of Fortune?,” on Friday, 8 April 2016, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Seminar Room, GT-Toyota Asian Cultural Center, Asian Center, University of the Philippines Diliman. The forum is free and open to the public; seating is first-come, first-served, but participants are encouraged to sign up to expedite the registration process on the day of the forum.


About the Forum

Over the past decade, the Philippines and Thailand seem to have experienced a reversal of fortune. Once considered the Sick Man of Asia, the Philippines has today one of the fastest growing economies in the world. In contrast, Thailand—once heralded as East Asia’s emerging fifth tiger economy—is going through what appears as a long-term economic slow-down. Much has been said about the role that politics has played in these two countries’ economic trajectory. The crisis of political legitimacy in Thailand and the good governance narrative in the Philippines have figured prominently in explanations on the two countries’ divergent economic performance. Nevertheless, there remains the need to identify how such political factors link up to economic development as well as interrogate the narratives of economic growth and decline from different perspectives. The public forum will examine these questions using political economy, state-society, and cultural lenses.  
Three speakers will discuss the role of the Thai middle class and technocrats in political transformation and economic development; compare and contrast the nature of political and economic institutions in the Philippines and Thailand vis-a-vis the trajectories of their economies; and explore the question of recent Thai politics from cultural perspectives.  


About the Speakers

  • Thanet Aphornsuvan, Ph.D. is Distinguished Fellow and Professor at Pridi Banomyong International College, Thammasat University and Head of ASEAN Studies Program. The author of Rebellion in Southern Thailand: Contending Histories, Professor Aphornsuvan is currently head of a research project on change and transformations of modernity in Thailand. He has Ph.D. from Binghamton University in the United States and was former director of the Southeast Asian Studies Program, Thammasat University, and once dean of its Faculty of Liberal Arts. VIEW FULL PROFILE.
  • Coeli Barry has a Ph.D. in Comparative Government from Cornell University and is Chair and Lecturer at the Institute for Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University, Thailand. The editor of “Rights to Culture: Heritage, Language, and Community in Thailand,” Dr. Barry is also the author of several peer-reviewed articles about Christian and Muslim Philippines, most recently, “Women Religious and Sociopolitical Change in the Philippines, 1930s-1970s,” which appeared in Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints. VIEW FULL PROFILE.
  • Antoinette R. Raquiza, Ph.D. is Associate Professor at the Asian Center, University of the Philippines Diliman, where she teaches Asian studies. She heads the Asian Center’s “Bugkos” research program that examines emerging development patterns, processes, and paradigms, defining Asia and the Philippines in transition. Dr. Raquiza earned her PhD in Political Science at the City University of New York Graduate Center and is the author of State Structure, Policy Formation, and Economic Development: The Political Economy of Thailand and the Philippines (Routledge 2012). VIEW FULL PROFILE.
  • The forum will be moderated by Dr. Aries Arugay, Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines Diliman. The Executive Director of the Institute for Strategic and Development Studies, Inc., Dr. Arugay has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Georgia State University. His most recent publication is a co-authored article (with Aim Sinpeng), “The Middle Class and Democracy in Southeast Asia,” which appeared in The Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Democratization. VIEW FULL PROFILE.

About the Organizers

The public forum is spearheaded by the Bugkos Research Program of the Asian Center, which undertakes comparative and regional studies under the theme, “Putting Equitable Development at the Center of the Asian Century.” The forum is organized in collaboration with the Department of Political Science, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, and UP Third World Studies Center of the University of the Philippines Diliman.

The UP Asian Center offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. The Center offers a Ph.D. program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. Get an overview of these programs. The Asian Center also houses a peer-reviewed, open-access journal, Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia. It has published several books and monographs, and hosts or organizes various lectures and conferences