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News from NIAS

Extended deadline! SUPRA Nordic Scholarship for MA and PhD students Autumn 2014

If you are working on a MA or PhD thesis during Autumn 2014 and need some inspiration, literature or simply just time to write on your thesis, then NIAS has something to offer: the Nordic Scholarship!

The Nordic Scholarship covers inexpensive travel to Copenhagen, two weeks board and accommodation plus a working place at NIAS! A perfect chance to concentrate on your thesis, have inspirational talks with our researchers or collect material in Northern Europe's most comprehensive Asian studies library.

More information about SUPRA students' experiences at NIAS and practical information as well as application form.

NB: SUPRA scholarships are primarily for students from NNC member institutions.

Extended deadline for application: 1 July 2014

For more information, please contact

Current SUPRA students at NIAS

Eveliina Kiema, Turku University
Topic: Secutization in East Asian Power Struggle in the Context of Arctic Cooperation

Jenni Lehtonen, Turku University
Topic: Capital punishment and its representation in Japanese Media

 Jenny and Eveliina

New student assistant at NIAS

Rakel Haslund-Gjerrild is the new student assistant at NIAS, working with the SUPRA Program and NIAS LINC.

I am currently studying for two BA degrees; one in Comparative Literature and one in China Studies at Copenhagen University. One day these two may merge into a MA in Chinese Literature. Right now I am using my time trying to figure out the use of literary categories and literary vocabulary in the early modern Chinese literature.

Women in China's development, interview with Min Dongchao

Professor Min Dongchao has been interviewed by journalist Mette Holm for Kinabladet. They talk about Chinese women's possibilities in China since the 1950s and up till now, starting from Min Dongchao's own personal experiences during the Cultural Revolution and onwards.

To read the interview, please open the attached document (from page 6 unfortunately in Danish only).

Presentations from Stig Toft Madsen, NIAS, recent visit to India

Senior Research Fellow at NIAS Stig Toft Madsen has travelled in India recently to follow the elections.

While in India, Stig also gave several interviews and presentations, below you can find the links to a couple of these.

Talk at Nehru Memorial in New Delhi on the farmers’ movement and globalization in Karnataka. To listen to the presentation, please click here

Interviewed for the program called Indian Standard Time by Jyoti Malhotra on Rajya Sabha TV. The interview is available on Youtube, click here

Current SUPRA students at NIAS

Leena Eerolainen, University of Helsinki
Topic: Personification of the Social Monstrous in 21st Century Japanese Horror Cinema

Aleksi Ilpala, University of Helsinki
Topic: Collective Actions and Common Interests: The Role and Perspectives of Trade Unions in the Democracy Developement of Nepal

Leena and Aleksi


Current SUPRA students at NIAS

Serena Sorrenti, Lund University
Topic: Recounting women’s liberation: the other side in Afghanistan

Joakim Brattvoll, NUPI
Topic: NATO and Uzbekistan – The evolution of a terrorism discourse on Central Asia

Current SUPRA students at NIAS

Margrethe Gaassand, PhD, NTNU
Topic: Representation of indigenous people (Adivasis) living in mining areas in Odisha, India

Sabi Ailus, MA, University of Turku
Topic: Adoptions of Chinese children, focusing on legal frameworks and policy


Current SUPRA students at NIAS

Arttu Anttonen, University of Helsinki
Topic: Bilingual Education of the Zhuang: A Case Study 

Sofia Hermansson, Lund University
Topic: Indonesian men and women working together with gender issues – a rerequisite for the progress towards gender equality? A qualitative study from two Indonesian NGO:s in Java

Open Discussion: Indonesia's Democracy and the Road to Elections 2014

On 27 March 2014, the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Copenhagen, in cooperation with Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) and Nordic Indonesia Studies Network (NISN) organized an Open Discussion on the topic of Indonesia's upcoming elections 2014. The event was hosted by NIAS, and attracted a broad audience including academics, diplomats, business people and students.

Indonesia held its legislative election on 9 April and will hold its presidential election on 9 July 2014. The fact that the elections will bring a new leadership in Indonesia raises many question marks in the course of Indonesia's democracy and political development of the country. The upcoming elections will be a key determinant of Indonesia’s democratic commitment at least in the next five years.

A panelist consisting of Prof. Dr. Azyumardi Azra (Professor of History and Director of Graduate School, Syarif Hidayatullah Islamic State University, Jakarta), Ph.D. Carlo Bonura (Senior Teaching Fellow in Southeast Asian Politics at SOAS, University of London), Vera Altmeyer (PhD candidate Department of Society and Globalisation, Roskilde University), and Mark Philip Stadler (PhD candidate Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen) lead the discussions. The panelists each gave short inputs on their views on Indonesia’s democracy in general, on the upcoming elections, and on how these may influence Indonesia’s future democratic development. Moderated brilliantly by Flemming Ytzen (journalist and NIAS Associate), the inputs by the panelist commenced an interesting panel debate, followed by a lively discussion with the audience.

Set off by the panelists introductory thoughts about the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in Indonesia, the discussion thus covered forecasts of possible scenarios with regard to the election results, debates of the progress and challenges to Indonesia's democracy today, as well as how it should be addressed by the new to-be-elected leadership. The future possible presidential candidates were also briefly discussed. The panel agreed that currently, the most likely candidate to win the presidential election is the Governor of Jakarta, Joko Widodo (also known as Jokowi), who runs as candidate for the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

The event raised awareness about the upcoming Indonesian elections, and the major consequences these may have for “Asia’s Third Giant.” Moreover, it addressed the role of democracy in general as well as the importance of continuously debating this issue.

As the legislative election was held subsequent to the discussion at NIAS, it mays serve well as a closing remark to mention the preliminary results: Jokowi and his party, PDI-P, had been expected to win the most votes at the legislative election. While the official legislative election results has not yet been announced, quick counts by various polling institutes after the close of balloting gave only around 19 percent of the vote to PDI-P and Jokowi. The legislative election thus failed to produce a clear winner leaving Indonesia’s political parties even more busy building alliances.