Seminar Series

Asia Beyond the Headlines Seminar Series

Inaugurated in the Fall of 2017 Asia Beyond the Headlines Seminar series focuses on urgent contemporary issues that cut across Asia.

In the first Asia Beyond the Headlines seminar, One Belt/One Road in Historical and Global Context, leading scholars put China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the context of analogous programs that have changed human history around the globe. Past topics in the series discussed a range of subjects, including elections, protests, border conflicts, migration, and refugees. 

Asia Center Seminars

The Asia Center Seminar Series, previously the Modern Asia Seminar Series, is the longest-running of the Asia Center’s series. It was created to bring senior scholars, government officials, journalists, and other specialists to speak on key issues from a regional perspective. Talks in the seminar series have focused on topics such as community organizing in Japan and China, the Chinese diaspora, spatial planning in refugee camps in Southeast Asia, the connections between Chinese films and early Japanese animation, and reporting on Asia.

Borders in Modern Asia Series

The Borders in Modern Asia speaker series convenes a series of invited speakers and roundtable discussions to examine the making and unmaking of borders in modern Asia. At a time when the policing and reinforcement of borders is everywhere on the rise, the seminar series examines both the weight and the porousness of national and regional boundaries in Asia, drawing from a range of disciplinary perspectives and emphasizing Asia’s many inter-regional arenas.

This seminar series is convened by Professor Sugata Bose, Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs, Department of History. 

Philippines Lecture Series

The Harvard University Asia Center’s 'Philippines Lecture Series' aims to showcase scholarship about—and generate discussion on—the history, politics, economics, public health, society, and culture of the Philippines in order to promote a better awareness and understanding of the place and its peoples. The primary focus of this interdisciplinary series is the Philippines and Filipinos, but speakers also situate the Philippines in the broader context of Southeast Asia and explore its complex transnational connections to East Asia, South Asia, and the global diaspora, including Filipino Americans.

This series is convened by Professor James Robson, James C. Kralik, and Yunli Lou Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations; Harvard College Professor; Victor and William Fung Director, Asia Center, Harvard University. 

Science and Technology Seminar Series

This seminar series features talks on critical historical and contemporary issues in science and technology in East, South, and Southeast Asia. It showcases some of the most exciting recent work in the humanities and social sciences that interrogates the place of the scientific and the technological in Asia and the place of Asia in our ideas and practices of science and technology.

The Science and Technology in Asia seminar series is convened by Victor Seow, Assistant Professor of the History of Science, and is sponsored by the Harvard University Asia Center. For updates about this seminar series and short synopses of the talks, check out:

Southeast Asia Lecture Series

The Southeast Asia Lecture Series is organized by Professor Mattias Fibiger, Harvard Business School; Professor Annette Lienau, Department of Comparative Literature, Professor Malavika Reddy, Department of Anthropology; Professor Teren Sevea, Harvard Divinity School; Jorge Espada, Harvard University Asia Center; and Yang Qu, Department of South Asian Studies.

Stanley J. Tambiah Lecture in Thai Studies

The Asia Center supports an annual lecture series named for the late Professor Stanley Tambiah, the Esther and Sidney Robb Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus at Harvard University. The inaugural Tambiah Lecture was delivered by Professor Katherine A. Bowie, University of Wisconsin, Madison, in October 2014. This was followed by lectures from Professor Justin McDaniel, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania,Thongchai Winichakul, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Penny Van Esterik, Professor, Department of Anthropology, York University, Toronto, Canada.

Surin Pitsuwan Lecture in Thai Politics and Society

The Surin Pitsuwan Lecture in Thai Politics and Society began in 2012 (as the Thailand@Harvard Lecture Series) with a lecture given by Dr. Komatra Chuengsatiensup, Director, Society and Health Institute, Ministry of Public Health, Bangkok, who presented After the Flood: Reaction, Relief, and Recovery in Thailand. Since then, there have been six additional lectures. Korn Chatikavanij, Chairman of Thailand Democrat Party Policy Unit, Chairman of Thai Fintech Association, and former Finance Minister of Thailand delivered the most recent lecture, titled Thailand 4.0: The Rise of a Stagnant Nation: (Moving Beyond Red, Yellow, And Green). The lecture series was renamed the Surin Pitsuwan Lecture in Thai Politics and Society in December 2018. The inaugural lecture was given in the Spring of 2019 by Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Director of the Institute of Security and International Studies, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. 

Thai Studies Seminar Series

The Thai Studies Seminar Series brings local and international scholars of Thai studies to Harvard to engage with Harvard students, faculty members, and the local community and to address various developments and issues that are unfolding in the region. The seminar has featured speakers such as Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Quentin Pearson, Scott Stonington, and Sittithep Eaksittipong, among others.

Tsai Lecture Series

The Tsai Lecture Series, established in 2000 with a generous endowment from Felix Tsai, allows the Asia Center to bring to Harvard notable leaders in academia, government, and business, as well as other professions. The annual lecture is open to the public, and it offers perspectives from a range of disciplines and different regions in Asia. Past speakers have included the late Surin Pitsuwan, former Secretary-General of ASEAN,  Pritzker Prize-winning architect and humanitarian Shigeru Ban, internationally renowned human rights lawyer and advocate Asma Jahangir, the Honorable Caroline Kennedy, the Honorable Kathleen Stephens, and 2021 Nobel laureate Maria Ressa. Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the former Sikyong (President) of the India-based Central Tibetan Administration, delivered the most recent Tsai Lecture in March 2023.

Harvard University's Asia-Related Resources