Luce Initiative on Southeast Asia Awards First Round of Grants

The Luce Foundation is proud to announce the first three grants awarded through the Luce Initiative on Southeast Asia (LuceSEA), a new, multi-year grants competition that aims to strengthen the study of Southeast Asia in institutions of higher learning in the United States and in Southeast Asia.

University of Wisconsin Foundation — For a project of the Southeast Asian Language Council to Strengthen Instruction in Southeast Asian Languages – a five-year grant of $1,100,000

Comprising representatives from the Title VI-funded National Resource Centers for Southeast Asia and other universities teaching Southeast Asian languages, the Council of Teachers of Southeast Asian Languages, and the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI), the Southeast Asian Language Council (SEALC) was formalized in 2018 to serve as a vehicle for coordinating joint projects. The grant will support a series of activities designed to professionalize SEA language teaching through training workshops for instructors and materials-development projects, and foster a community who will form the next generation of leaders in SEA language instruction. Outcomes will include the development of national standards, oral and reading proficiency assessments, and pedagogical resources. A portion of the grant will fund student scholarships for attendance at SEASSI and for participation in distance learning courses offered during the academic year. The project will be administered by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Ohio University — The Southeast Asia Digital Library – a five-year grant of $1,200,000

The Committee on Research Materials on Southeast Asia (CORMOSEA) was established in 1969 to enhance the collection of SEA research materials and to assist in making them available to scholars, faculty, and students. Approximately 30 libraries and librarians actively participate in CORMOSEA on a regular basis. The grant will provide seed funding for a digital librarian at Cornell University and a web developer at Northern Illinois University, which hosts the Southeast Asia Digital Library (SEADL). These positions will enhance CORMOSEA’s ability to build and curate digital collections to meet the research and pedagogical needs of the enormously diverse field of SEA studies. Funding will also support the launch of a new generation of digital initiatives proposed by member institutions. In addition, CORMOSEA will create an open-access repository in SEADL for the upload and sharing of pedagogical resources developed through SEALC’s project to strengthen instruction in SEA languages. Ohio University will administer the grant on behalf of the CORMOSEA consortium.

University of California, Santa Cruz — SEACOAST: The Southeast Asian Coastal Interactions Initiative – a five-year grant of $1,000,000

Drawing on UCSC’s strengths in coastal studies and interdisciplinary work, the grant will seed a new faculty position in environmental history, foster research to explore the histories and ongoing transformations of Southeast Asian coastal land and seascapes, and expand curricular offerings on the region. SEACOAST will coordinate individual and collaborative research projects, conducted in partnership with SEA institutions, that bring humanists and social scientists into dialogue with ecologists and biologists to examine coastal interactions that link, and have an impact upon, land and sea, leading to unintended social, economic, and biological outcomes. Grant funds will also support graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and dissertation fellowships. The focus on Southeast Asia’s coasts, home to some of the world’s richest sites of cultural and biological diversity, will highlight how local and regional histories matter in global environmental change.

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