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SHAPE-SEA Programme

SHAPE-SEA Programme | Programme Impacts | Theory of Change

SHAPE-SEA’s Vision is the creation of a culture of human rights and peace in Southeast Asia through the production of indigenous, evidence-based knowledge, applied research, education, inter-sectoral partnerships, and informed policy advocacy.

SHAPE-SEA’s Mission is to enable academic contribution to the improvement of human rights and peace situation in Southeast Asia.

The Strengthening Human Rights and Peace Research and Education in ASEAN/SEA Programme or SHAPE SEA is funded by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo. This program envisioned a Southeast Asia where the culture and values of human rights, peace and democracy are instilled through widespread research and teaching in higher education. It was premised on the assumption that building regional cooperation on human rights and peace in higher education would contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights and sustainable peace for all peoples in Southeast Asia. We believe that the threats to human rights, whether in rising populism, shrinking civil society space, increased racism, or the impunity enjoyed by human rights violators, cannot be effectively addressed unless there is evidence-based knowledge and highly skilled network of experts (or champions) in the region.

The overarching objective was to contribute to the improvement of human rights and peace situation in Southeast Asia through applied research and education. The strategy of the programme was to directly involve and engage universities to play a more significant role in promoting human rights and peace by contributing research and by increasing the knowledge of human rights and peace by incorporating them into university education.

Activities implemented in Phase I  (2015-2019) included awarding grants for cutting edge and innovative research, capacity building for researchers through trainings of emerging scholars in ASEAN/SEA, and disseminating findings, recommendations, and knowledge from the research through public advocacy, publications, conferences and seminars. A large number of academics and other stakeholders have been involved in the process of implementation.

Shape-sea has indeed, in a number of ways through its activities, innovated the landscape of human rights promotion and peace building through research and education in the region. It has tapped a significant number of scholars to do studies on human rights and/or peace at the local, national and/or regional levels. Another endeavor are research projects initiated by programme. Themes such as Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia, Human Rights and Peace Education, and Technologies and Human Rights were comprehensively tackled by both leading and emerging scholars based in the region. Furthermore, through its annual publication entitled, Human Rights in Southeast Asia Outlook, Southeast Asian scholars, for the first time, were given the opportunity to assess critical human rights and peace issues in all eleven Southeast Asian countries.

In summary, the following Programme Outputs were achieved:

  • 58 research projects, ranging from support for MA and Ph.D theses to regional-level research, were supported and finished
  • 204 university-based scholars from 10 countries were trained on human rights and peace research design and methodology
  • 109 lecturers from 70 universities and two government institutions from 13 countries were trained on teaching human rights
  • 1008 scholars, academics and members of civil society participated in national seminars and regional dialogues on various critical human rights and peace issues
  • 6000+ joined the national seminars through live streaming
  • The SHAPE-SEA website was created to host open source materials, including the Human Rights Textbook, the Human RIghts Outlook, Research Outputs- Academic Papers, Policy Briefs, among others.
  • 12 books were published and made available as open source on the SHAPE-SEA website
  • SHAPE-SEA published books have been downloaded 10,000+ number of times. In addition SHAPE-SEA has served as a platform for the SEAHRN series  which has been downloaded 14,000+ times.
  • 17 policy briefs are published on the website
  • Co-organized two (2) international conferences on Human Rights and Peace in Southeast Asia in 2016 in Bangkok and in 2018 in Manila, with the Southeast Asian Human Rights Studies Network (SEAHRN)
  • 7 lecture tours were organized with academics from 10 universities.
  • Conducted 7 high-level outreach at the ASEAN level to promote human rights and peace research and education
  • We have supported the development/ refinement of new courses on human rights in partner universities. One of which, Human Rights in ASEAN, will now be offered yearly to the Master of Law students at Pannasastra University in Cambodia.