L-R: Prof Sarah Whatmore, HRH The Sultan Nazrin Shah, Prof Louise Richardson, Oxford’s Vice-Chancellor, and Dr Afifi al-Akiti. Photo credit: John Cairns.

HRH Sultan Nazrin Shah becomes Patron of Southeast Asia Studies Centre

11 October 2018

The establishment of a world-leading Centre for Southeast Asia Studies at the University of Oxford moved closer on 10 October, with His Royal Highness Sultan Nazrin Shah launching the campaign.

Professor Louise Richardson, Oxford’s Vice-Chancellor, and Professor Sarah Whatmore, Head of the Division of Social Sciences, welcomed Sultan Nazrin, an alumnus and Honorary Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford, to the Sheldonian Theatre. Sultan Nazrin – who serves as Chancellor of the University of Malaya – is a political economist and active scholar with longstanding interest in the socio-economic development of Malaysia and its surrounding region.  An Oxford graduate in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (BA Hons), he also holds higher degrees in Public Administration (Masters) and Political Economy and Government (PhD) from Harvard University.

Welcoming the Southeast Asia Studies Centre initiative, HRH The Sultan, as Patron to the Centre, said: ‘By creating a dedicated focus for research and teaching excellence in Southeast Asia Studies, Oxford will make a significant contribution to the global academy. Very few universities in the world can match Oxford for the range and intensity of its academic expertise.  This ambitious, thoughtfully-integrated knowledge enterprise will put Southeast Asia at its heart, benefiting both the citizens of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries and the people of the wider world.’

The new Centre for Southeast Asia Studies will be part of the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies. It is expected to create research and teaching opportunities to be shared across several departments including Geography and the Environment, Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, Politics and International Relations, Development Studies, and History.

Sultan Nazrin has served as Co-Chair of the United Nations High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing, as well as Malaysia’s Special Envoy for Interfaith and Inter-Civilisational Dialogue at the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC).  He is also Patron of the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre. At Oxford, he is a Fellow of the Chancellor’s Court of Benefactors at the University of Oxford; and Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.

He was the generous benefactor of the Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre in the grounds of Worcester. The Centre was one of six buildings shortlisted for the prestigious Stirling Prize 2018 for architecture.