Fighting for Myanmar’s Child Soldiers

A group of captured child soldiers in Myanmar’s northern Kachin state (credit: IRIN).

Efforts to release some 70,000 child soldiers in Myanmar face multiple challenges. Memo #324 By Kai Chen – chenkai [at] Since Myanmar’s independence in 1948, the nation’s interest groups—in particular its ethnic minorities and the national military—have been at odds on how to rule Myanmar. The result has been a long simmering armed conflict… 

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Pakistani Taliban: The Fault in their Narrative

Memo #323 By Dur-e-Aden – dur-e-aden [at] On December 16, 2014, Pakistani Taliban massacred over 132 children when they attacked a high school in Peshawar. They rationalized this attack as a reaction to the violence perpetrated against them (whether by the Pakistani military or US drones). This narrative attempts to shift blame for the… 

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Will the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) transform Southeast Asian economies in 2015?

Memo #322 By Kai Ostwald – kai.ostwald [at] and Krislert Samphantharak – krislert [at]   December 31, 2015 is the launch date of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), possibly the most ambitious undertaking to date of the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations… Continue reading

Integrating Sexual Minorities in South Korea

Memo #321 By Joseph Yi – joyichicago [at], Joe Phillips – joephillips5 [at], Heather Yang – heatheryang0102 [at] The LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) occupy a peculiar place in South Korean society. By maintaining… Continue reading

In Myanmar, Let’s Make a Deal

Myanmar’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement has the potential to end decades of conflict, but a political solution will have to wait. Memo #320 By Brandon Miliate – bmiliate [at] Today there is the real possibility that Myanmar’s sixty-year history of ethno-national insurgencies might be coming to an end. After decades of stagnation and intermittent fighting,… 

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Understanding Kashmir, Tackling the Kashmir Problem

Memo #319 By Promod Puri – promodpuri [at] The division of the Indian sub-continent in 1947 generated a persistent hostility between India and Pakistan, a hostility dominated by clashing territorial claims over the Kashmir region. On the international stage the Kashmir problem is largely viewed in diplomatic, political, government and media circles with the understanding that the… 

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Mongolia – From Sino-Russian Buffer to Conversion Zone

Memo #318 By Mendee Jargalsaikhan – mendee [at] Last autumn, Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin made separate visits to Mongolia, met for a tri-lateral (Russia-China-Mongolia) summit in the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe during the leadership summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and dispatched their vice-foreign ministers for a working-level meeting in preparation for next… 

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Restoring Indonesia’s Direct Regional Elections: Stability in a Divided Society

Memo #317 Indonesian President Pak Joko Widodo must fight to reinstate direct regional elections to maintain social stability. By Matthew J. Bock – m.bock [at] and Geoffrey Macdonald – gpmacdonald [at] Joko Widodo, referred to as Jokowi, was inaugurated as Indonesia’s seventh president on October 20, 2014. President Jokowi represents a new… Continue reading

Whither Area Studies?

Advancing the project of Comparative Area Studies and fruitful Area Studies Comparisons: an Intervention from Europe Memo #316 By Jürgen Rüland – juergen.rueland [at] & Mikko Huotari – mikko.huotari [at] There is no universal ultimate golden mean between disciplinary research and area studies. Viable intermediate positions are eventually dependent on an individual researcher’s… 

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‘One Drug with Multiple Names': Broad Powers and Product Differentiation in the Chinese Pharmaceutical Industry

Memo #315 By Yifan Wang – yfwang [at] Drug regulations in China stipulate that chemical and generic names of drugs are determined by the Chinese Pharmacopeia (Ch.P) and the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), while brand names are chosen by pharmaceutical companies, as long as they are recorded with the SFDA. Some Chinese… 

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Music for the Mind? Virtuosity and Performativity in Celebrity Diplomacy

Memo #314 By Hyung-Gu Lynn – hlynn [at] Does celebrity diplomacy work? If so, based on what measures, why, how and for whom? In the afterglow of bravura passages powerful yet precise, arpeggios determined yet delicate, these questions arose, at least in one small corner of my brain. The United Nations Day concert in the General… 

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