Professor presents lecture on Southeast Asian change

By Sandra Masibay

“The Winds of Change in Southeast Asia” is the topic of today’s weekly lecture sponsored by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

The lecture will be given by NIU Professor Clark Neher, who also is the chair of the graduate department of political science.

Neher said he first found his love for Southeast Asian studies as a result of field work done in Thailand for the peace corps.

“I was so enamored with that area that I decided to make my career revolve around that area of the world,” Neher said.

Since then Neher has traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia and goes back once a year. Although knowledgeable on Southeast Asian politics and culture as a whole, Neher is an expert on Thailand and the Philippines.

“One third of Filipinos today are suffering from malnutrition. It is a country that is ruining its resources, for example, the destruction of the forests,” Neher said.

Neher’s lecture will not just cover the Philippines but a combination of Southeast Asian countries undergoing political change.

“I would like to draw as large a picture that I can concerning the movement toward Asian democracy. The process is evolutionary,” Neher said.

“The Winds Of Change in Southeast Asia” is not just the title of Neher’s lecture but also of his new book published by Westview Press.

The book builds on an earlier work of Neher’s, “Southeast Asia in the New International Era” which was completed two years ago.

When asked what he missed most about Southeast Asia, Neher replied, “I miss the warmth, the hospitality of the people. I miss the excitement of being involved in in-depth research of political matters. I miss the drama in parts of society undergoing such massive change. I miss getting out of the routines here in my life in DeKalb.”

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies at NIU ranks among the best in the nation. It is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month.