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York Centre for Asian Research Updates                    Issue 64, Friday, October 20, 2006

In this issue

Academic Events

 Hopper Lecturer to speak on creating a social floor for informal labour in India
  Conference Workshops  Metropolis Conference: Exploring Canada's diversity today and tomorrow

Asia Job Postings

 Concern Worldwide seeks manager for civil society program in Laos

Research Competitions

 CIC calls for proposals for analysis of online language training programs

Asia News - Singapore

 Regional NGOs want to drive an economics study on impact of haze

Hopper International Lecturer to speak on creating a social floor for informal labour in India
Today, October 20, 12-2:00pm, York Lanes 305

Dr. Ravi Srivastava, Professor of Economics at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, has been invited by the University of Guelph to deliver the David Hopper International Lecture on October 17, 2006 and will come to York as well to share his views on India's social security issues. The talk is co-sponsored by York Department of Sociology, South Asian Studies and YCAR. Below is the abstract of his talk:

The Indian economy has been growing at a rate of about six percent for nearly two and a half decades. Together with Chinese economy it is today considered to be not only the strongest among the emerging economies, but a global competitor to the developed countries. However, India still has one of the highest incidence of ‘capability failure’ and deprivation in the world which is concentrated among poorly paid wage workers and self-employed. The sections of society which bear the brunt of deprivation and increased insecurity form part of the informal workforce which today accounts for about 92 percent of all workers in India. The relative size of its vast informal workforce has increased under the impact of globalisation and reforms. The absence of a clear link between high growth and mass deprivation has led the Indian government to opt for a reform process that is oriented towards the ‘common man’. On the ground, there has been a campaign to extend social protection through a ‘rights’ based approach. In the last few years, important legal and semi-legal entitlements have been created in health, education, employment, access to information and food. The National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector, of which the author is a member, has now proposed a universal national minimum social security legislation, and a floor of labour rights and working conditions. This rights based approach, which has gained wide currency, creates its own paradox, because of the contending claims on the state’s resources in the context of the state’s general bias towards markets and capital. In his talk, Dr. Srivastava will examine possible outcomes of this contention, in a predominant globalised and neo-liberal environment. Dr. Srivastava is a full-time Member (in the rank of Secretary, Government of India) of the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector. He is on the Editorial Board of Social Concern, the Journal of Agrarian Change, the Indian Journal of Labour Economics and Sarvekshana.

Saturday, October 21, three members of pro-democracy groups from Thailand (Somkiet Phongpaiboon, Kraisak Chunhawan, and Anchalee Paireerak) will speak at the Etobicoke Olympium, 590 Rathburn Road, Toronto, from 1:00 - 7:00 PM. Call 905-338-7934, 905-332-0917, 416-628-9891 for reservation.

Monday, October 23, Hironori Onuki, PhD Candidate, York Political Science talks on
The Global Political Economy of Labour Migrations: Globalization-as-Practice, Everyday Spaces, and Primitive Accumulation, York Lanes 270B, 12-1:30pm

Abstract: The rapidly deepening penetration of liberal market discipline into political, social, and cultural realms has become associated with both the reconfigurations of the global division of labour as well as the intensification of exploitation, alienation and commodification of human beings and nature. Within these transformations, the escalated mobility of labour on a global scale—more specifically, the currently intensified flows of migrant workers from developing areas to highly industrialized regions—has profound effects on the social structures of both the societies of origin and of destination. Reflecting these dynamics of global labour transfers, this paper will explore: how and with what consequences have global labour migrations (re)constituted capitalist relations of production and social reproduction? By building upon Louise Amoore’s conceptualization of globalization as sets of social practices and regarding migrant workers as agential political subjects, it will argue that global labour migrations are the concrete, contingent and situated social practices that not only participate in and depend upon but also contest and negotiate the neoliberal restructuring of the global political economy. In so doing this project will particularly investigate the implications of contemporary labour migration for the ways of organizing people’s everyday spaces in the Philippines (the largest supplier for government-sponsored contract workers) and Japan (one of the major destinations of Filipino as well as other migrant workers).

Wednesday, October 25, Keith Barney, PhD Candidate, York Geography talks on
Contemporary Forestry, Commodity Production and Rural Livelihoods: Reflections from Fieldwork in Laos, York Lanes 270B, 12-1:30pm

Keith Barney's research interests are on international political economy of development, political ecology, forestry and resource tenure, resources livelihood and identity, environmental politics, Southeast Asia. His presentation will be based on his participation in an IDRC-funded YCAR research project on Enhancing Community-Based Natural Resource Management Research and Networking Capacity of the National University in Laos.


The Colloquium on the Global South is proud to present a seminar/discussion by writer and political organizer Steven Staples on Wednesday October 25 (2:30-4:30 pm), at 305 York Lanes, York University. This event is presented by UCGS in cooperation with In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States embarked on a mission to resurrect the ballistic missile defence program known as Star Wars, once envisioned by Ronald Reagan. But when Bush turned to Canada to support the program, he touched off a political firestorm. This talk explains how an unlikely coalition of parliamentarians, peace activists, former diplomats, experts and ordinary citizens were able to stop Canadian participation. Steven Staples, one of the key organizers of the opposition to missile defence, explores the public positions and private motivations that led Ottawa to reverse its original decision to participate. But the issue continues to bubble just below the surface. Staples also explores the prospects for Canada and Canadians holding fast to a decision not to participate in this controversial program.

STEVEN STAPLES is a veteran political organizer from the peace and anti-globalization movements. From his office at the Polaris Institute in Ottawa, he was one of the central backroom – and sometimes front-page – voices that led the political resistance to Paul Martin’s plan to put Canada in Bush’s missile defence system. Known on Parliament Hill, in newsrooms, and on the street, Staples is a key figure in Canada’s peace movement.

Reminder: UCGS invites graduate student papers for global south dissertation workshop

The University Consortium on the Global South (UCGS), York University, is organizing a dissertation workshop for 8-12 PhD students at the end of the Fall semester, scheduled from 5-7 December 2006. PhD students interested in participating in the workshop are invited to submit their 8-10 pages project proposal (pre-fieldwork) or description of research (post-fieldwork), no later than Friday October 28 (4 pm).

Theme: South-North Perspectives on Social Justice Eligibility. Selection Criteria: Applications from PhD students enrolled in Toronto area universities, and whose research engages social justice questions, are welcome to apply. York University graduate students will be given preference, however 3-4 spots will be available to non-York students. The completed or proposed research must involve fieldwork in Global South sites, which includes Global South diasporas and Indigenous populations in the North. Other criteria include: fit with workshop theme, overlapping interests, multidisciplinarity, geographic distribution, gender, etc. The workshop will be particularly useful for students who have recently completed PhD fieldwork, although students preparing research proposals may also apply.

Proposal Submission date – Friday 28 October 2006. Electronic copies can be sent to Joelle Reid, UCGS Coordinator at

Ninth National Metropolis Conference: Exploring Canada's diversity today and tomorrow

March 1-4, 2007, Fairmont Royal York Hotel, 100 Front Street West, Toronto
Hosted by the Joint Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement (CERIS)

In a world characterized by globalization and transnationalism, Canada faces many opportunities and challenges in the successful integration of newcomers. Our experience of the past 10 years notwithstanding, many old questions require new responses: What is the nature of citizenship in contemporary Canada? What does it mean to be Canadian? And what are the factors influencing 'attachment' and ‘belonging'? What access do newcomers have to resources needed for social, economic, cultural and political integration? What do newcomers need to do to facilitate their integration? How do we promote a just society? What do we expect newcomers to do? What might we do differently tomorrow?

Metropolis is an international forum for comparative research and public policy development about population migration, cultural diversity and the challenges of immigrant integration in cities in Canada and around the world. National Metropolis conferences provide a forum for discussion among academic researchers, policy analysts, and representatives of non-governmental organizations that deal with issues of immigration, diversity and social inclusion. For those interested in submitting individual paper proposals, the deadline is January 5, 2007. Please direct inquiries to For more info on the conference, visit the website at

Concern Worldwide seeks manager for civil society program in Laos

Concern Worldwide is an international relief and development organization dedicated to the relief, assistance and advancement of people in need in the least developed countries of the world. It is currently seeking a program manager who will be responsible for developing and managing a program to support the government to create an environment in which civil society can emerge and develop effective partnerships with, and build the capacity of, Lao civil society organizations. The position will also include management of the implementation of Concern Lao PDR’s Strengthening Civil Society (SCS) project. Duties and responsibilities include:

Project/Human Resource/Financial Management

• Design and implement a program to build the capacity of emergent Lao civil society organizations.
• Implement the Strengthening Civil Society (SCS) project in accordance with Concern’s Project Cycle Management, agreed program documents (e.g. the EC EIDHR proposal), and in line with Concern Worldwide policies.
• Manage, support and build the capacity of the Assistant Program Manager (APM) through counterpart mentoring.
• Undertake probation review and Performance Development Review with the APM in a timely fashion
• Manage all financial resources and assets allocated to the program together with partners as appropriate and in accordance with Concern’s finance and administration policies and procedures
• Prepare and review budgets and monitor expenditure against approved budgets together with partners
• Ensure that Concern financial procedures are followed by partner organizations

Research Support, Monitoring and Evaluation
• Gain understanding of civil society in Lao PDR through research and analysis and environmental monitoring
• Develop strategies to help Concern staff understand civil society and how to work in partnership with CSOs
• Produce monthly activity reports as per agreed format
• Produce periodic reports of progress for Concern, government and donors and provide analysis of lessons learned.
• Establish a participatory monitoring system with defined and agreed indicators with program partners
• Design Terms of Reference for evaluations in consultation with stakeholders

Coordination, Networking and Organization of Training Workshops
• Support LUSEA to develop strategies to build linkages and networks between CSOs and other stakeholders
• Support LUSEA (or other agency) to establish a supportive network for Civil Society Organizations that promotes solidarity and mutual understanding of their obligations to the peaceful development of Lao PDR.
• Establish working relationships with national, regional and international institutes (e.g. university, research and policy development institutes etc), international NGOs, donors, academics and policy makers.
• Assist in the organization and facilitation of international-level seminars, workshops, round table meetings, policy dialogue meetings and training sessions.
• Present and share lessons learned and reports of progress at different government and other meetings
• Support LUSEA to organize and facilitate study/exposure trips abroad for key government policy-makers

For job details, see To apply for any of the positions advertised please forward a current resume to Please reference in cover letter. For more info on the organization, please visit their website at

CIC calls for proposals for analysis of online language training programs

The Settlement and Intergovernmental Affairs Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Ontario Region, invites proposals to research and analyze online and distance education courses that are currently available within the field of second language training.  The research gathered will provide information to CIC for future program planning and development.  The successful applicant will examine existing models/best practices from both English/French programs and identify gaps that exist within the programs. For more information, please follow the link:

Analysis of Second Language Training: Tutoring Programs & Seniors’ Programs

The institution also invites proposals to research tutoring programs and seniors’ programs that currently exist within the field of second language training across Canada.  The successful applicant will examine existing models and best practices from both English and French programs across the country.  The research gathered will provide information of use to CIC Ontario Region for future program planning.  For more information, please follow the link:

Regional NGOs want to drive an economics study on impact of haze
By May Wong, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 19 October 2006

SINGAPORE: Non-government organisations and think-tanks want to drive a study on the economic impact of the haze. This will help determine the losses in monetary and health costs, hopefully pushing governments into action. The haze this year is the worst since the episode back in 1997, costing some US$9b in losses. Regional think-tanks want a more detailed study to assess the losses this time round, and will start it in a few months. (Right photo: A farmer puts out a fire near Galang village in Batam (file pic)

"We hope to instigate, initiate again, not just a dialogue like we did today but a more detailed study that can help put some facts and figures and in a sense, give the political will for countries to do the right thing. When we say well, we have so many days of dark sky, some people say what's the cost, what's the harm and we really need some facts and figures to that harm," said Assoc Prof Simon Tay, Chairman, Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

Prof Tay suggested that ASEAN countries should start putting money into the haze control fund, with Indonesia having concrete plans and a show of political will. However, the organisations also agreed that it's not productive to point fingers and assign blame.

"It is a challenge for Indonesia to be responding with action and of course, when one finger points, three fingers point back at ourselves, so we need to have a better kind of thinking and not too much finger pointing, because it doesn't solve problems," said Wiryono Sastrohandojo, Senior Researcher, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Indonesia.

Mr Sastrohandojo pointed out that the haze was not only causing a considerable economic impact, but was also poisoning the "feeling of brotherhood" among ASEAN countries. "This should not be viewed as Indonesia causing the problem and exporting the problem to other countries in ASEAN, which is very upset with Indonesia. If we put it this way, then we complicate the problem further, in terms of resolving it. Indonesia will feel rather defensive and it'll get upset and it's not a very good way of doing this," said Mohamed Jawhar Hassan, Chairman and CEO, Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Malaysia.

Participants at a forum organised by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs on Thursday all agree that the haze problem is a complex and expensive one. Some of them noted that some of the burning areas are even larger than certain ASEAN countries, and they are committed to submit their findings and discussion issues back to their respective governments, hoping to pressure them into implementing concrete actions." The 20 participants also felt that regional fund under the ASEAN pact should be set up to tackle the haze problem, regardless of whether Indonesia has ratified the agreement. - CNA /dt

York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR). For further information, contact
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