at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
UHCSEAS on Facebook UHCSEAS on Twitter UHCSEAS on Instagram UHCSEAS on Youtube
Center for Southeast Asian Studies > About the UH Mānoa Center for Southeast Asian Studies

About the UH Mānoa Center for Southeast Asian Studies

Aloha! Welcome to the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), College of Arts, Languages & Letters (CALL), at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM).

Please take a few minutes to scroll through our website. For information on how CSEAS has made every effort to make this site accessible to meet WCAG 2.0 guidelines, please check out our post here.

To stay connected to our activities throughout the year, you can subscribe to our semi-monthly newsletter here: CSEAS Newsletter.

southeast asia photo collage
From L-R: Guardian demon at Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand; Buddhist monks, Myanmar;
Fort Santiago, Manila, Philippines; Super Trees at night, Singapore; Flower vendor Hanoi, Vietnam

Founded in 1978, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies is one of the country’s largest centers devoted to the Southeast Asia region: more than 40 faculty across 21 university departments pursue active research in/on Southeast Asia. Based on the strength of the program, the Center has been given Title VI National Resource Center (NRC) Southeast Asia status by the U.S. Department of Education, one of only eight NRC-SEA in the country. This distinction comes with a yearly federal grant to support program development and fund top students studying Southeast Asian languages at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Our mission is to encourage trans-disciplinary understandings of the eleven countries in the region: its peoples, religions, history, economics, geography, art, cultures, science, and politics. Developing and supporting UH Mānoa’s capacities in Southeast Asian studies by UHM faculty, staff, and students define the core of our work.

With the objective of promoting educational and cultural awareness of Southeast Asia, its diverse peoples, religions, history, economics, geography, art, cultures, science, and politics, UHM CSEAS seeks to:

  • Provide student funding for the study of Southeast Asian languages and cultures through the Foreign Language Area Fellowships program and other center-based sources of funding.
  • Support the offering of Southeast Asian languages including Ilocano, Indonesian, Khmer, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.
  • Build partnerships with local K-12 schools, community colleges, military education centers, and non-profit organizations interested in developing curriculum materials and hosting outreach projects focused on Southeast Asia.
  • Facilitate efforts by UH Mānoa to establish viable academic and education partnerships with colleges and universities in Southeast Asia.
  • Organize and sponsor lecture series, colloquia, film series, seminars, museum exhibits, and major research forums and conferences.
  • Link UH-Mānoa faculty, staff and students with interests in Southeast Asia through scholarly and social events
  • Continue to build UH-Mānoa’s Southeast Asia library collection, including digital and moving image resources.
  • Maintain and enhance our university’s national and international reputation as an outstanding resource in Southeast Asian studies.

Our mission as a Center is to support Southeast Asian Studies within our university and across the world, and doing so requires a variety of voices. We value each member of our community: their identity, culture, background, and experience strengthen our program, and we welcome all who seek to join us. Diversity is critical to our work: as teachers, students, researchers, and colleagues.

We are proud of the multiethnic heritage reflected in our university, and are committed to ensure that all members of our campus community have broad access to the opportunities and benefits of our Center. As members of our Center for Southeast Asian Studies, we promise to foster an inclusive environment in which all are ʻohana: family.


Our logo image and colors are inspired by the Southeast Asian domesticated chicken (gallus gallus domesticus) and its ancestor the red jungle fowl (gallus gallus). These resilient birds are ubiquitous throughout Southeast Asia – ‘crossing the road’ from village farms to city roadsides; in Lunar calendars, generational stories, cultural and religious symbolism; and of course, in many culinary delights of the region (as we have been lucky to experience through our yearly potlucks).

Recent scientific findings also indicate that this bird might have been first domesticated in what is now known as Northern Southeast Asia and Southern China, then carried across Asia and to other continents through migration and trading (Science Mag, 2020). Like the region, these birds are resilient, diverse, unique and rooted in complex, rich histories.