CSEAS 50th anniversary logo


On March 5, 2013, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies celebrated 50 years of regional research, teaching and engagement in Southeast Asia. For the past year, a committee of Center staff and associates, led by honorary co-chairs Clark Neher, emeritus professor, and alumnus John Brandon of the Asia Foundation, planned a week of special events March 1-6. They included: 

  • Friday, March 1: The 50th Anniversary Spring Lecture was given by political scientist John Sidel of the London School of Economics and Political Science at 4 p.m. at Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center. Alumni, current students and faculty were invited to a two-hour casual-dress gathering at 5:30 p.m. following the lecture, also at Barsema.
  • Saturday, March 2: Emeritus art history professor Richard Coolergave a morning coffee talk at 10 a.m. at the Rarely Seen Southeast Asia: Art, Artifacts and Ephemera exhibit in the new NIU Anthropology Museum, featuring pieces from the museum's Southeast Asia collection and private donors. During the day, visitors were also encouraged to drop by the Donn V. Hart Southeast Asia Collection in its newly refurbished space on the fourth floor of Founders Memorial Library to view 50 Years of CSEAS and the Donn V. Hart Southeast Asia Collection, a historical exhibit created by Southeast Asia curator Hao Phan. In the evening, CSEAS hosted a cocktail reception and gala dinner beginning at 5 p.m. in Altgeld Hall Auditorium, followed at 8 p.m. by A Celebration of Southeast Asian Performing Arts at Boutell Memorial Concert Hall, a free event featuring traditional and contemporary artists. Dessert followed the performance.
  • Monday, March 4: An opening reception for the Hart Collection exhibit at Founders Library was held at 4 p.m. in the Rare Book Room of the library. The featured performer at the Saturday night performance, Malaysian world pop recording artist and NIU alumna Amirah Ali, was the School of Music's special guest at a Meet-the-Artist session at 8 p.m. in the School of Music Recital Hall.
  • Tuesday, March 5: The center's official birthday date.
  • Wednesday, March 6: Southeast Asia Club's 50th Anniversary Film Series screening of The Lady (France, 2011), award-winning biopic of the life of Aung San Suu Kyi, 6 p.m., Room 100, Cole Hall Auditorium. Co-sponsored by the Burma Interest Group-NIU. 

Other anniversary-year activities included the entire Southeast Asia Club's film series, an interactive online timeline recapping high points of center history on the CSEAS website, and the publication of Rise of the Sarimanok, Volume I, a look back at the Center's early years by Trude Jacobsen and Maria Hancock Nihei, which is available for purchase from CSEAS for $5 per copy. Email cseas@niu.edu to order. View our entire year of anniversary activities on our 50th Anniversary Calendar page.