The Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) is one of only eight National Resource Centers (NRC) for the study of Southeast Asia in the United States as awarded by the US Department of Education. The CSEAS acts as a coordinating body for Southeast Asian studies throughout the university. With more than 50 affiliated faculty members, distributed through 21 departments, the Center works with the largest concentration of Southeast Asia specialists in the United States. More than 100 language and area studies courses are regularly offered, with particular strengths in the humanities and social sciences. A dynamic new initiative, begun in 2009, saw the creation of the Muslim Societies Asia Pacific (MSAP) Program under the initial leadership of CSEAS.
CSEAS maintains educational linkages to university programs in Thailand, Viet Nam, the Philippines, East Timor, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, as well as specialized faculties in Europe. The Center also facilitates individualized study programs specific to students’ needs. These in-country experiences provide students with valuable opportunities to conduct research and/or pursue advanced language study. CSEAS is also responsible for administering and awarding the Foreign Language and Area Study (FLAS) fellowships. In addition, the Center continues to publish Explorations, the only graduate student journal publishing on Southeast Asian Studies in the US.
The Center has worked to promote Southeast Asian studies nationally through its support of teacher training by providing in-country learning experiences. The Center led teachers from minority serving institutions to Thailand and Burma in 2002, and a group visited Malaysia in 2004. CSEAS, with Fulbright Group Program Abroad (FGPA) support, also took K-12 teachers to the Philippines and Viet Nam in the summer of 2013.
Since 2010, special emphasis has been directed toward the development of testing materials for Southeast Asian languages. An additional programatic theme has been to explore the concept of identity in Southeast Asia through language, religion, history, and performance. Indonesian Randai is taught every four years (only at the University of Hawai′i at Mānoa) and has successfully introduced this unique theatrical performance style to thousands of people across the country.
CSEAS acts as a clearinghouse initiating and publicizing events on the campus with a Southeast Asia focus including a twice-monthly Speaker Series. Central to this PR effort is its popular website and high social media profile. The Center has a strong commitment to outreach programs and has broadened public interest in Southeast Asia through a weekly film series for over ten years.