Deakin Asia-Pacific Research Network

The Deakin Asia-Pacific Research Network (DAPRN) is the central point for Asia-Pacific expertise at Deakin University.

The network brings together leading experts from across disciplines to engage in collaborative research, share knowledge, support international students and researchers, and provide high-quality teaching and advice about the Asia-Pacific region.

About us

The DAPRN is convened by Alfred Deakin Professor Baogang He, Chair in International Relations at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The network includes experts from politics, economics, business, education, law and the arts. Its main purpose is to coordinate and develop collaborative cross-disciplinary research that addresses contemporary issues in the Asia-Pacific.

For example, an initial focus has been exploring the multidimensional implications of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Two international conferences were held in 2017 in Melbourne and China and a special issue on the initiative will be published in 2018–2019.

As well as research, we arrange events, coordinate and promote publications, and provide region-specific advice and commentary. Our experts are available for expert commentary or to discuss potential collaborative opportunities.

Research projects

Federalism in Asia


In the 1940s and 50s, many Asian countries attempted to build federal systems. Federalism was seen as a way of achieving a form of political union between India and Pakistan and between Malaysia and Singapore. This federalism imposed by the British failed, with partition between India and Pakistan and secession of Singapore from Malaysia.

Despite the earlier failures, there have been recent proposals for using federalism to address multiple identity questions in many Asian countries; for example, in the Philippines, China, Myanmar, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, where there has been resistance amongst ethnic and religious minorities and secessionist movements.

Our research

By looking at these historical efforts and contemporary challenges, our research extends knowledge of comparative political institutions and government in Asian countries.

We do this by investigating how decentralised governance arrangements and hybrid federalism can maintain national unity while achieving sufficient autonomy in ethnically distinct sub-national regions, as well as further democratisation and human rights.

These are substantial issues in traditional and cutting-edge contemporary literature, with enormous national and policy interest for particular Asian countries.

Outputs include:


  • ‘The covenant connection re-examined: The nexus between religions and federalism in Asia’, Political Studies, Baogang He, Laura Allison-Reumann and Michael Breen.
  • The Road to Federalism in Nepal, Myanmar and Sri Lanka: Finding the Middle Ground, Michael Breen, London: Routledge.


  • ‘The Origins of Holding-Together Federalism: Nepal, Myanmar and Sri Lanka’, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Michael Breen, DOI:
  • Blending accommodation and moderation through federal constitutional change in Nepal, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, Michael Breen, paper presented to the IPSA Colloquium on Democratization and Constitutional Engineering in Divided Societies, Nicosia, Cyprus, June 2017.


  • Contested Ideas of Regionalism in Asia, Baogang He, London: Routledge.
  • In Search for a Just World in Asia, Baogang He, Singapore: World Scientific Publisher.
  • 'Hybrid Federalism in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal', Baogang He and Laura Allison-Reumann, in Federalism and Decentralization: Perceptions for Political and Institutional Reforms, Singapore: Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

Scholars from Deakin have been working on various aspects of Asian federalism and multiculturalism. In recent years three international workshops have been convened; two in Singapore and one in Nepal.

The workshops involved academics and practitioners from across Asia, including Malaysia, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. The main purpose of the workshops was to test and further develop key concepts and lessons for federalism in Asia, such as how democracy interacts with the federalisation process.

The workshop in Nepal also engaged political actors, policy makers and the research team to discuss options for the new federal constitution of Nepal.

Study with us

Deakin University offers a number of specialist programs and courses on the Asia-Pacific and provides a welcoming environment for international students.

Courses and units

Courses and units that focus on the Asia-Pacific region include:

Individual Asia-focused units include:

Global Citizenship Program

Deakin offers the innovative Global Citizenship Program, which is designed to engage participants with a variety of global programs and activities that can build up their skills in areas that are important in the global workplace and global community.

The Global Citizenship Program is aimed at supplementing students' studies at Deakin, and involves a combination of international activities such as international study experiences and participation in internationally focused units.

Find out more about the program

International students

Deakin provides information and advice for prospective international students to make informed choices about where to study, and the options available to those choosing to pursue their interests at Deakin University.

A number of international offices have been established in the Asian region and information sessions for prospective students are regularly held in major regional centres.

Find out more about international students at Deakin

News and events

Read about Deakin Asia-Pacific Research Network news and information about our current and past events.

Journal editor appointments

Deakin’s Asia-Pacific expertise has received further recognition with the appointment of Deakin academics as editors of two prominent regional journals. Associate Professor David Hundt will assume the role of Editor In Chief for Asian Studies Review from 2018.

Asian Studies Review is a multidisciplinary journal of contemporary and modern Asia. The journal sets out to showcase high-quality scholarship on the modern histories, cultures, societies, languages, politics and religions of Asia through publishing research articles, book reviews and review articles.

The Australian Institute of International Affairs announced the appointment of Professor Baogang He, Associate Professor David Hundt and Dr Danielle Chubb of Deakin University as the new co-editors of Australia in World Affairs.

The AIIA has been publishing Australia in World Affairs since 1950 to document Australia’s foreign policy and examine Australia’s role in the world. The most recent volume, edited by Professor Mark Beeson and Dr Shahar Hameiri, is Navigating the New International Disorder: Australia in World Affairs 2011–2015. The next volume will cover the 2016–2020 period and is scheduled to be published in 2021.

Past events

Workshop: Global perspectives on the One Belt One Road

In August 2017, the Deakin Asia-Pacific Research Network, together with the Alfred Deakin Institute, held an international workshop called ‘Global Perspectives on the One Belt One Road’.

The workshop brought together leading scholars and practitioners from across Asia, including China and Pakistan, to examine the historical and contemporary engagement between China and Australia, and other countries in the region, and the driving forces, opportunities, obstacles and limits of cooperation.

The One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiative was first articulated in 2013 by President Xi Jinping. The OBOR aims to boost connectivity and commerce between China and 65 other countries, connecting city to city, country to country, and continent to continent. It also aims to transform China from 'world factory' to 'world builder', by establishing its own or hybrid global production networks and trade routes. The OBOR initiative increasingly impacts global investment and global infrastructure building. However, the long-term impact is uncertain, with many risks along the way.

Currently, the study of the OBOR is narrowly China-centric and, in Australia, preoccupied with national security considerations. Day one of this conference took a global perspective of the OBOR, in particular a Global South perspective concerning the impact of the OBOR on Global South countries and
their responses, desires and demands. It examined the origin, evolution and current state of affairs of the OBOR, and investigated how the OBOR has impacted domestic politics in Iran, Pakistan, South Korea and Myanmar, on the politics of ASEAN, and on the global supply chain and politics of regulation.

Day two of the conference placed the Pacific Islands countries in focus. With the rise of China, the Chinese central government, several provincial governments (e.g. Guangdong), and Chinese private companies are writing a new history of Chinese engagement with the region. In 2015, China proclaimed that
the OBOR will extend to the Pacific Islands region. China is now the major development assistance donor to Fiji, and the second biggest in Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, and Papua New Guinea. The main question is: it is possible for Australia and China to develop collaboration, or is such collaboration
an impossible mission given the asymmetric power relations between Australia and China and the increasing strategic competition in the region?