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  • Miriam Stark (UH Manoa) and Tep Sokha (Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Cambodia) consult during Khmer Production and Exchange Ceramics Workshop at APSARA National Authority, June 2017

Major project members include:

  • Pia Arboleda
    UHM Indo-Pacific Languages and Literature
  • Ashok Das
    UHM Department of Urban and Regional Planning
  • Jefferson Fox
    East-West Center/Affiliate, UHM Geography/Environment
  • Mary Mostafanezhad
    UHM Geography/Environment
  • Kirstin Pauka
    UHM Theatre and Dance
  • Krisna Suryanata
    UHM Geography/Environment
  • Brian Szuster
    UHM Geography/Environment

The Henry Luce Foundation recently awarded $1,000,000 to the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM). Dr. Miriam Stark (Director, UHM CSEAS) will direct "LuceSEA Transitions: Environment, Society and Change" in partnership with the East-West Center to explore socioeconomic and environmental shifts that are transforming Southeast Asian societies in a time of accelerated climate and environmental change.

With support from the Luce Foundation, the UH/EWC team will:

  1. Enhance collaboration and equality with SEA-based research partners by embedding training and collaboration opportunities into research and professional opportunities;
  2. Support SEA-based workshops to share information and help early career researchers develop professional skills;
  3. Develop and make available college-level SEA curricular resources on environmental issues and agrarian transitions as Open Educational Resources (OER) and for-credit online courses available using digital technology.

This project will create close mentorship programs that transcend institutional boundaries through joint fieldwork, professional training, conference participation, and scholarly publication.

Nurturing collaboration that crosses boundaries is integral to addressing socio-environmental transformations and to helping Southeast Asia-based early career colleagues engage with the international academic world.

Velma Kameoka, UHM Vice Chancellor for Research said, “This grant from the Henry Luce Foundation affirms our University’s deep expertise in Southeast Asian Studies. Bringing together faculty from 10 departments at UH Mānoa as well as colleagues from the East-West Center, the Luce/SEA Transitions project will advance a series of innovative projects that combine social and environmental sciences with humanities to build research capacity and scholarly resources both at UH Mānoa and in the region.”

Center for Southeast Asian Studies Director Miriam Stark said, “I’m honored to work with members in our community of researchers on this project. Most have collaborated with Southeast Asia colleagues for decades to document changes in rural and urban areas and how this impacts households, and this grant will forge an international cohort needed to strengthen the field.”

UHM College of Arts, Languages and Letters Dean Peter Arnade said, “We are inspired and humbled to receive this important award from the Henry Luce Foundation. Not only does it foster collaboration with colleagues in Southeast Asia, it will also enhance the mission of the new College of Arts, Languages and Letters, which now includes the School of Pacific and Asian Studies, to integrate the liberal arts with an Asia Pacific focus, creating new interdisciplinary opportunities for faculty and students.”

Additionally, the creation of digital online SE Asia scholarly resources will help students, SE Asia-based researchers, and non-specialists more easily incorporate SE Asia into their social sciences and humanities research. Coordinating efforts at UHM and EWC with SE Asia-based colleagues enhances the depth and breadth of UH’s activities in Hawai’i, and enhances SE Asia Studies in the United States.

EWC partner Jefferson Fox added, “By educating and mentoring SE Asian graduate students, we are building enduring global connections and local expertise in the region leading to more equitable urban and agrarian policy making.”

Helena Kolenda, the Luce Foundation's Program Director for Asia, expressed pleasure that this project was approved by the Foundation's board of directors. "This effort, led by the University of Hawai‘i and the East-West Center," she said, "closely aligns with the aims of the LuceSEA initiative to support: innovation in emerging areas of inquiry and expansion of direct engagement with scholars in the region; enhancement of scholarly infrastructure for teaching and research relevant to Southeast Asia; and collaborations between academic centers and with partners outside academia."

Questions? / More Information

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808 376-7800 or send us a message.

FOR UH • FOR HAWAIʻI, The Campaign for the University of Hawaiʻi, is focused on raising $1 billion to support UH priorities on all 10 campuses across the state, including student success; research that matters; kuleana to Native Hawaiians and Hawaiʻi; sustainability, resilience and conservation; innovation and entrepreneurship; building Hawaiʻi’s workforce; and engaging our community. Learn more at

Questions? / More Information

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808-956-8700 or send us a message.

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The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to enrich public discourse by promoting innovative scholarship, cultivating new leaders, and fostering international understanding. Established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time, Inc., the Luce Foundation advances its mission through grantmaking and leadership programs in the fields of Asia, higher education, religion and theology, art, and public policy. 

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), housed in the UHM College of Arts, Languages, and Letters (CALL), is one of the country’s largest centers devoted to the Southeast Asia region, with more than 40 faculty across 21 university departments pursuing active research in/on Southeast Asia.

The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations.

The East-West Center, established by the U.S. Congress in 1960, promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative research, study, and dialogue. The Center is an independent, public, nonprofit organization with funding from the U.S. government, and additional support provided by private agencies, individuals, foundations, corporations, and governments in the region.