Southeast Asian Policy Network
The Southeast Asian Policy Network (SEAPolUK) connects UK-based experts on Southeast Asia with government policymakers. It is convened by Professor Lee Jones at Queen Mary University of London. In 2021, the UK government published its Integrated Review of foreign, defence and development policy, inaugurating an ‘Indo-Pacific tilt’ in British foreign policy. Central to this is the development of stronger relations with Southeast Asia. In 2021, the UK became the first new Dialogue Partner to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in over two decades. The UK is also developing new strategic partnerships with several ASEAN member-states. Through these bilateral and multilateral commitments, practically every government department is tasked with establishing relationships and activities with their Southeast Asian counterparts. SEAPolUK was established to support sound policymaking in this new era by bringing together the UK’s experts on Southeast Asia and connecting them with officials. SEAPolUK members are predominantly academics working in the social and natural sciences, covering everything from the environment to social policy, from international relations to economic development. The network was launched in November 2023 with a half-day conference at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (pictured), where officials and experts exchanged views on UK objectives in the region, major regional trends to 2030, environmental challenges, promoting open societies and human rights, economic development, and conflict and peacebuilding. Subsequent events have included presentations on gender in Southeast Asia; decarbonisation and conflict risk; and the localisation of aid delivery. If you would like to join the network, click here to sign up. If you have questions about the network or would like to access its expertise, please email the convenor.