Research, Research and Research

This past month, I completed 3 research assignments of varied scopes and content, all of which as in research memo format. The first assignment is to collect Ho Chi Minh’s quotes and writings on his vision of Asia as a region. This is a section in my bigger project spanning the whole summer on Ho Chi Minh’s ideas of nationalism, colonialism, governance and regional unity, and part of Professor Acharya’s book project on nationalist leaders of Asia. I find the project rewarding because not only did I learn about the leader and founding father of my country, but I also gathered much useful information on my country’s history. It has been as much an intellectual enlightenment as personal enrichment.

The second project is on the Mekong River regional cooperation. I explored the history as well as the recent developments on the Mekong hydropower construction, the political implications and long-term problems at stake. In doing so, I looked into both the institutional role of the Mekong River Commission and other functions by the Asian Development Bank, while explaining the challenges ahead with the change of leadership after the MRC’s CEO Jeremy Bird’s tenure expires in 2012.

The third project that I completed is on the successes and failures of 5 regional economic institutions: APEC, the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, Chiang Mai Initiatives, ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement and ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement. This research benefits Professor Acharya’s report to the Asian Development Bank on the evolution of Asian regional institutions, in which he also writes on regional security and political institutions. Undoubtedly, the project helps me understand the effectiveness of these economic institutions and how the academia has proposed them change or reform. These small steps are when I see academic research and recommendations can be useful for policy making.