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The Practice of Constitutionalism in Asia: Emerging Trends & Contemporary Challenges

Second Workshop of the KAS Research Group on Constitutonalism in Asia

Building on from the successes of last year's inaugural research group session, this year's workshop seeks to engage in a further inquiry into the role of law and policy, institutional settings and the rule of law.

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In 2016, the KAS Rule of Law Programme Asia commenced an inaugural research group to bring together a diverse group of jurists, legal professionals and constitutionalists from the region and beyond, to reflect on the development, successes and challenges of constitutionalism in Asia. This was in recognition of the need to engage with Asia’s experiences in constitution-making and constitutionalism and provide opportunities for Asian countries and jurisdictions to collaborate and learn from each other.

Last year’s research group addressed various issues concerning constitutionalism and its development in Asia, by way of four thematic sessions. Apart from examining country case-studies on the experiences of constitutionalism, the participants also considered its theoretical aspects, including proposing alternative approaches to examining the development of constitutionalism in Asia that recognises the influence of political, economic and socio-cultural factors. Building on from the successes of last year’s research group session, we turn our focus this year on further encouraging collaboration and multi-disciplinary dialogue to the issues of constitution-building and constitutional thought in Asia and beyond.

It is timely for us to foster closer engagement with contemporary issues on constitutionalism in the region and beyond, to build on the broader and more foundational discussions which were engaged in during our inaugural workshop. These practical challenges are more pertinent given the ever-evolving geopolitical climate. As such, some of the broader themes which we hope to explore and discuss include:

- Addressing contemporary geopolitical challenges as well as leadership and governance transitions that are likely to have an impact on constitutional development in the region;

- The need for inclusive constitutionalism amidst increasing social, political and religious plurality in the present global climate;

- The debate between popular constitutionalism and legal constitutionalism, given the growing rise of populism; and

- The role of non-institutional actors, such as political parties and civil society organizations or movements, that similarly influence or play a significant role in constitutional design and development.

We also hope to draw from the expertise of our research group participants in the fields of constitutional law, legal and constitutional history, and political institutions. Through this multi-faceted approach that extends beyond a discussion that is confined to the realm of legal theory and debate, we hope that these themes can provide the opportunity for fruitful debate, discussion and collaboration.

Going forward, it is also hoped that this can pave avenues for further research and inquiry into the emerging trends and contemporary challenges facing the practice and development of constitutionalism in Asia and beyond.

Please note that participation for this event is by invitation only.

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Siem Reap, Cambodia


The Practice of Constitutionalism in Asia – Emerging Trends and Contemporary Challenges: 2nd Workshop of the Research Group on “Constitutionalism in Asia”
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Gisela Elsner

Gisela Elsner kas

Global Sustainability Policy Officer and KAS Advice and Complaints Officer +49 30 26996-3759

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