Past Summer & Spring LABs Summer LAB 2019

China’s Rise and the Future of ASEAN


Duration: 20 to 31 May, 2019

Project Instructor: Vincent Ni (Journalist and Yale Greenberg World Fellow)

In the context of the rise of China and the decline of United States (US) leadership in the region, organisations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have shown their potential in shaping the geopolitics and economics of the region.

This journalism LAB offered students an opportunity to look at ASEAN’s future by reporting on Cambodia and China, asking questions such as, what does the role of Cambodia say about the future of this regional organisation? And, what roles can Cambodia and ASEAN play in the US-China trade friction?

The LAB kicked off in Singapore, where the group discussed past reportage and visited the ASEAN Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The group then travelled to Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville in Cambodia, where they met with representatives from businesses, non-governmental organisations, and think tanks, in addition to journalists working and living in Cambodia. Students on this LAB gained experience reporting, researching, interviewing, writing, and using geopolitical and economic analyses from the field. The group also had the opportunity to meet with second- and third-year journalism students from the Department of Media and Communication at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, the only public journalism and communication training ground in Cambodia. During the course of this LAB, each participant wrote and workshopped a story drawing upon meetings and visits in both countries.

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  • This LAB was one of the most impactful experiences I have had in college. Despite providing a topic (China’s rise) and a lens (journalism), we each chose a specific part of this issue that interested us. From there, Vincent guided us in interviewing experts and crafting our articles. I also learned so much from the group – everyone had a different passion and perspective on the topic. Since returning, the LAB inspired me to double major with global affairs, and the LAB members have become some of my closest friends. I'm so grateful to have been part of this LAB.

    Christina Tuttle
    Class of 2022, Yale University

  • I am interested in pursuing journalism as a career, so this LAB was an excellent opportunity to get some reporting experience and learn from Vincent. Observing the way Vincent conducts himself in interviews and ask sensitive questions was very educational. Through the workshops he conducted, as well as the feedback he gave on my article, Vincent taught me a lot about adding colour to a story and how to link broad geopolitical happenings to small local situations.

    Alysha Chandra
    Class of 2021

  • This trip was a valuable opportunity to meet and converse with a diverse group of people who have been impacted by Chinese investment in different ways. We spoke with many Cambodians, from students to NGO workers and Chinese-Cambodians to understand the impact of Chinese investments.

    Meng Fei Shen
    Class of 2020, Yale University