Luce Initiative on Southeast Asia


Update on Round Three Competition

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related challenges, in summer 2020, the Luce Foundation’s Asia Program made the difficult decision not to issue an open call for proposals for a LuceSEA Round Three in 2020-2021. We left open the possibility of conducting a limited, invitation-only competition as a clearer picture emerged of the pandemic’s impact on institutions of higher education and what would be possible.

Based on continued monitoring of the situation, conversations with grantees and the field, consultation with our advisors, and review of project ideas that emerged during LuceSEA’s first two years, we are pleased to announce that the Asia Program will run a limited, invitation-only Round Three competition this year. Awards, if approved by our board of directors, will be announced in June 2021.

We believe this interim step will help maintain LuceSEA’s momentum and pave the way for a hoped-for resumption of the open competition for Round Four in 2021-2022. We anticipate the Round Four application calendar will be similar to that for Round Two, with Letters of Inquiry due in fall 2021 and awards announced in summer 2022.

The 2019–2020 Application Guidelines from Round Two will remain available on this page for general reference purposes, but please note that future guidelines may contain revisions when the open competition resumes. Please feel free to keep in touch with Asia Program staff about project ideas.

Responsive Grants – Please note that the Asia Program is also continuing to consider, through our Responsive Grants category, proposals with a Southeast Asia focus that fall outside of the LuceSEA guidelines.


The Luce Initiative on Southeast Asia (LuceSEA) is a multi-year grants competition approved by the Henry Luce Foundation’s Directors in June 2018. LuceSEA is administered by the Foundation’s Asia Program. The broad goal of LuceSEA is to strengthen the study of Southeast Asia in American higher education by providing resources for the creation of models, strategies and partnerships that not only bolster existing program structures but also take them in new directions, contributing in the process to both institution and field building.

View the first round of LuceSEA grants
View the second round of LuceSEA grants

View All LuceSEA grants


LuceSEA aims to encourage innovation in the study of Southeast Asia through support for

Within American philanthropic circles, the Luce Foundation is unique in its longstanding support for Southeast Asian studies. It is an appropriate moment for the Foundation to reinvest in the field, to ensure that it remains vibrant and relevant.

Please Note: During the life of LuceSEA, the Asia Program plans to continue through the Responsive Grants category to fund proposals with a SEA focus that fall outside the LuceSEA guidelines.

Eligibility Requirements

LuceSEA is open to:

  1. Doctoral degree-granting universities in the United States with identified strength in teaching and research on Southeast Asia or a history of engagement with the region, including but not limited to universities that house the Title VI-funded National Resource Centers for Southeast Asian studies.
  2. U.S.-based organizations that support relevant scholarly activity.
  3. Academic and research institutions in Southeast Asia that conform to LuceSEA guidelines, provided that proposed activities include collaboration with at least one U.S.-based institution.
  4. Institutions that do not meet the eligibility criteria described above may not serve as the lead applicant in a proposal; however, they may participate in LuceSEA by partnering with an eligible institution.


For questions or additional information, please contact:
Helena Kolenda, Program Director for Asia
Henry Luce Foundation
51 Madison Avenue, 30th Floor, New York, NY 10010
Tel: 212-489-7700
Fax: 212-581-9541
Email: hkolenda@hluce.org