AMSEAS seeks to provide new opportunities for the promotion and advancement of research relevant to Mainland Southeast Asia. Recognising the benefits of adopting a multidisciplinary approach and encouraging dialogue between scholars of the individual countries, we promote and support the study of Mainland Southeast Asia in Australian and New Zealand universities, as well as working to enhance the public knowledge of the region.

Mainland Southeast Asia is an area consisting of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. It is one of the world’s most culturally heterogeneous, linguistically diverse and economically dynamic regions. This diversity is a result of a long history of interconnected cultural exchanges by land and sea, as part of a vast trade network, which played an integral role in the area's rich religious, historical and socio-political dynamic.


Today it is home to three of Southeast Asia’s least developed countries, which are also among the ten fastest growing economies in the world. It is also a region of great political complexity. Two of its five members have post-revolutionary single-party states, while the remaining three have gone through distinctive processes of formation and change. Its governments all seek regional collaboration through ASEAN and other frameworks.

Mainland Southeast Asia possesses many shared national borders, including with China (Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam) and India (Myanmar). Transborder connectivity is central to the region’s dynamic socio-economic and environmental transformations, as well as geopolitical contestations. In this context, hydropower development and natural resource management, regional and national security, as well as mineral resource extraction and migration patterns, are significant. These characteristics warrant strengthened interdisciplinary and cross-country collaboration in order to provide informed commentary on the importance of Mainland Southeast Asia in relation to Southeast Asia and beyond.



Executive Committee

Patrick Jory


University of Queensland

Marnie Feneley


University of New South Wales

Melissa Curley


University of Queensland

Ben Schonthal

New Zealand Representative

University of Otago

Simon Creak

Simon Creak

Country Representative Laos & International Liaison Officer

Nanyang Technological University

Nick Cheesman

Country Representative Myanmar

Australian National University

Lan Anh Hoang

Lan Anh Hoang

Country Representative Vietnam

University of Melbourne

Sovinda Po

Sovinda Po

Country Representative Cambodia

Griffith Asia Institute, Griffith University

Arjun Subramanyan

Country Representative Thailand

Murdoch University


Justine Chambers

Media Officer

Australian National University

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Sreang Chheat

Student Representative

University of Queensland

Gerard McCarthy

Gerard McCarthy

International Representative

National University of Singapore



The Association of Mainland Southeast Asia Scholars (AMSEAS) had its genesis in an initiative of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC), which commissioned a report into teaching and research on mainland Southeast Asia across Australian universities in 2017. Following that initiative – which identified close to 400 researchers who work on the region – SSEAC Director Michele Ford convened a steering committee to establish a sub-regional academic association. Members of that steering committee included Melissa Crouch (UNSW), Nick Cheesman (ANU), Simon Creak (Melbourne), Lan Anh Hoang (Melbourne), Patrick Jory (UQ), Sverre Molland (ANU), Lee Morgenbesser (Griffith), Kearrin Sims (JCU), and Aim Sinpeng (Sydney). An interim Council was subsequently established which included country representatives for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as an international liaison officer representative based in Singapore, postgraduate and media representatives, and later a representative of MSEA studies in New Zealand. The Association was incorporated in 2019 (many thanks to Melissa Crouch for her work towards this). The AMSEAS website and membership were developed in 2020 - 21 by Melissa Curley, Marnie Feneley (UNSW), Justine Chambers, and Patrick Jory.