Southeast Asia in Transition: Plastic Runs Through It


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Zoom Webinar

When: Oct 13 2021 - 2:00pm until Oct 13 2021 - 3:30pm

Mekong Fisheries 

Southeast Asia in Transition: Plastic Runs Through It 
2021 Webinar Series

Click here to Register 

In recent decades, people living in the Southeast Asia have witnessed major transformations in their lives and livelihoods. This series of seminars will focus on a variety of issues—all of which have a plastic connection. The first webinar introduces the expanding problem of plastic waste in the region and community and government action to reign it in. The following webinars talk about the growth of fisheries and aquaculture, the expansion of oil palm and rubber plantations, and the politics of conservation and heritage areas. This series of four webinars will explore how communities in the region are experiencing the economic, social, and cultural dislocations of these transformations. 


  • Brian SZUSTER, Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Environment, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
  • Senglong YOUK, Deputy Executive Director & Program Director, Fisheries Action Coalition Team (FACT)
  • Wisa WISESJINDAWAT-FINK, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Mekong Culture WELL Project, Michigan State University
  • Aaron KONING, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Wonders of the Mekong Project, Global Water Center, University of Nevada, Reno


  • Amanda FLAIM, Assistant Professor, James Madison College and Department of Sociology, Mekong Culture WELL, Michigan State University

Brian SZUSTER is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environment at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Dr. Szuster has studied the environmental implication of shrimp farming and other forms of coastal aquaculture in Southeast Asia for over twenty years. His recent research focuses on the potential of community supported fisheries strategies to benefit small-scale aquaculture and rural communities in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Senglong YOUK has been working on natural and fisheries resource management, including waste management and livelihood improvement of local focal groups, in particular fishers, with national and international NGOs in Cambodia since 2000. Since May 2013 he has affiliated with a Cambodia national NGO Fisheries Action Coalition Team (FACT) as Deputy Executive Director and also Program Director. He is a waterkeeper and also a founder and now spokesperson of Tonle Sap Lake Waterkeeper (TSW). Senglong has extensive working/networking and business traveling experiences in Mekong and Asian regions, USA, Australia, and European countries. He is also a member of Steering Committee of the national CSO platform River Coalitions in Cambodia (RCC) and also a former member of Coordination Committee of Lower Mekong CSO platform Save the Mekong Coalition (StM) as of December 2018. These two platforms are actively working on and monitoring all development project related issues – in particular large scale hydropower development project – in Mekong basin and other major tributaries such as 3S Basin. Senglong received his Master of Arts in Development Studies, from Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) in 2021. 

Wisa WISESJINDAWAT-FINK (Ph.D., Environmental Geography; National University of Singapore) is a postdoctoral fellow of the Mekong Culture WELL project at Michigan State University. Wisa is highly motivated in applying scientific knowledge into action in the integrated nature of human-environment interactions for livelihood and policy improvement, with a focus on participatory approach and GIS techniques in a wide range of project implementations in the Mekong Region. 

Aaron KONING is a freshwater conservation ecologist whose research looks to inform actions that both conserve freshwater ecosystems and sustain the important services they provide. For the past decade, his work has been focused on assessing the efficacy of community-based conservation and fishery management strategies throughout Southeast Asia. Aaron is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Nevada, Reno working with the USAID-funded Wonders of the Mekong project on understanding the ecological and social predictors of community-based fishery management successes in and around Tonle Sap, Cambodia. 


Full Webinar Series Schedule 

Panel 1 : Sept 22 – Plastics and Environmental Trash 

Panel 2 : Oct 13 – Mekong Fisheries 

Panel 3 : Nov 10 – Politics of Oil Palm and Rubber 

Panel 4 : Dec 8 – Politics of Conservation and Heritage 


This series is made possible through funding from the Henry Luce Foundation and is co-organized by Michigan State University-James Madison College and Asian Studies Center, the East-West Center, University of Hawai'i-Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and Chiang Mai University-Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development. 

Primary Contact Info:
Name: Jefferson Fox
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