Asian Civil Society Research Network – Colombo Charter

Asian Civil Society Research Network – Colombo Charter (March 2020 – present)

Head: Dr. Udan Fernando

The Asian Civil Society Research Network (ACSRN) – Colombo Charter was launched in March 2020 to further the efforts and enhance the level of collaborative and foster learning exchanges and cross fertilization of ideas between the members and countries.

The ACSRN Colombo Charter is a clearing house and a coordinating hub for offering services such as studies, advisory, evaluation, facilitation of civil society related work. It also hosts a portal of civil society resources – papers, books etc. – on Asia. The Colombo Charter initiates activities such as talks, lectures and workshops in Colombo and other Asian cities in close collaboration with the members of the Asian Civil Society Research Network.   

The ACSRN Colombo Charter will largely be a virtual outfit with minimum physical infrastructure. Collaborations, joint ventures and sponsorships with local, regional and existing academic institutions and civil society organizations will be sought to mobilize intellectual and financial resources for its work.  

Immediate activities by the ACSRN Colombo Charter:

  • An exploratory study visit to Cambodia (Phonm Pehn, Battambang and Siem Reap) to establish linkages with the research institutes, think tanks and individual researchers to develop a research program on Cambodia and Myanmar [March 2020]. Based on this, a research is being developed on ‘Contested Narratives of Development in Asia amidst Sino-US Power Rivalry: A closer look at Myanmar and Cambodia with special reference to Civil Society’ with the guidance by ACSRN member Dr. Jeff Kingston (Jan 2021). This proposal is currently under discussion with a South East Asian Think Tank for implementation under a research fellowship scheme.
  • ACSRN member Dr. Jeff Kingston edited a special volume on the Pandemic in Asia in August 2020. The Colombo Charter’s Head contributed a chapter for this volume: Fernando (2020) Facing a Pandemic at a time of Elections and Cricket: Socio-political consequences of Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 curfew in Asia Pacific Journal, Special Issue: Pandemic Asia, August 1, 2020, Volume 18 Issue 15, Number 1.
  • The Colombo Charter coordinated the research on ‘Religious Extremism in South Asia and the Emergence of Covid-19:  The Impact on Civil Society Values, Role and Action. Country Analyses of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal’, Commissioned by International Movement Against Discrimination and Racism, IMADR, an organization with UN consultative status [June-Dec 2020]. ACSRN Chair had Head of ACSRN-Colombo Charter had discussions with the leadership of IMADR to organize a webinar on the four country studies conducted under the above research in the second half of 2021. ACSRN will explore a publication project based on the papers written under this research.  
  • Colombo Charter’s Head was engaged in a research on A Covidized SDG 16? Democracy, Governance and Human Rights in Sri Lanka during the lockdown and its aftermath. in collaboration with Isha Wedasinghe Miranda, Consortium Humanitarian Agency. Commissioned by the Kathmandu Democracy Forum. [AprilJune 2020, Research]
  • The Colombo Charter was invited to be part of a pan-Asia team to conduct A Pre-Assessment of the socio, political and legal factors in the run-up the General Elections in Myanmar, Commissioned by the Asian Network of Free & Fair Elections (ANFREL), Bangkok. [Aug/Sept, 2020, Research]
  • A Political Economic Analysis of Think Tanks in Sri Lanka for the University of South Carolina as part of capacity building program funded by the United State Department. The Head of ACSRN – Colombo Charter carried out this study through Strategic Inspirations Private Limited. [Dec 2020 – Jan 2021]