You are here

News from NIAS

NIAS Associate Mette Holm in Oral Interview

NIAS Associate and journalist, Mette Holm, has recently given a long oral interview to the University of Helsinki. You can read this interview here. A small excerpt:

“Before, I was married to a photographer, and we were detained in China 1991, and they separated us. And, you know how Chinese walls are very thin, so he was on the other side of the wall, and they were shouting at him in Chinese, and he spoke absolutely no Chinese, and he was coughing all the time. And that’s probably the worst thing I’ve ever experienced, because I could hear him clearly, and it was not going well. And he didn’t know what they were saying. That, of course, meant that I was basically willing to say almost anything in order to protect him. It was very unpleasant. We got out, both of us, and in one piece, and much the wiser. “

New Virtual SUPRAs at NIAS

We are happy to announce that we are continuing our online format of the SUPRA programme! This means that four new students follow a prolonged online programme. It is a great pleasure to welcome the fourth round of online SUPRAs:

Tomasz Burdzik, Doctoral Candidate, University of Opole

Tomasz completed his degrees at Inter-Faculty Individual Studies in Humanities at the University of Silesia in Katowice. His research interest covers a wide range of themes related to politics, human rights and religion in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia. Guest lecturer at various universities, chairman of the Equal Treatment Commission of National Representation of Doctoral Students in Poland (KRD).






Quynh Le Vo, MSSc student of Environmental Change and Global Sustainability, University of Helsinki 

Le is currently completing a multidisciplinary Master’s programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability at the University of Helsinki, specialising in environmental politics and economics as well as climate change. Her thesis is a systematic review of the Asian Development Bank’s climate adaptation projects in Southeast Asian countries between 2016 and 2020, in an effort to contribute to understandings of ongoing efforts to adapt to the consequences of climate change in the region. Le holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She has also spent a semester studying at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA. Previously, Le has worked as the manager of the LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre and as an advisor on sustainable development, environment and climate issues at the Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations.




Puthika Cheab, International Master Programme in Educational Research, University of Gothenburg

Puthika’s academic and professional background revolves around education. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree of Education in English (TEFL) in 2014 from Royal University of Phnom Penh, and he later got admitted to National Institute of Education, where he received the Certificate of Teacher with Higher Education Degree in 2016 after one year of compulsory teacher training. As for his career, he had been an English teacher at PUC-IFL of Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia and Chea Sim Prek Anhchanh High School since 2014 and 2016 respectively until 2019, the year he was awarded Swedish Institute Scholarships for Global Professionals to pursue his Master’s Degree in Educational Research at University of Gothenburg. He is currently in his final year working on his master’s thesis on the topic of “Preservice Teachers’ Professional Identity Development through Teacher Education Programme”. 


Kunty Touch, Master's Programme in Global Studies, University of Gothenburg

Growing up in Cambodia, I hold my Bachelor’s Degree of Education in English and a Master’s Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) with some years of English teaching experience. Besides my full-time teaching, I endeavor to chase my profound interests in social issues, particularly raising the awareness of social responsibility and democracy among youngsters by performing voluntary work at some non-government organizations (NGOs). Presently, I am awarded a scholarship opportunity by the Swedish Institute Scholarship for Global Professionals (SISGP 2019), to pursue the Master’s Degree in Global Studies at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. My research focus is to explore the perceptions of the grassroots level (the relevant civil society actors) in de-escalating the tension of the Preah Vihear/ Kao Phra Viharn conflict from 2008 to 2011 between Cambodia and Thailand.


New Virtual SUPRAs at NIAS

We are happy to announce that we are continuing our online format of the SUPRA programme! This means that four new students follow a prolonged online programme. It is a great pleasure to welcome the third round of online SUPRAs:


Junhua Zhu, Doctoral Candidate, University of Turku
I received my master’s degree from Lund University in 2019 and started the doctoral program at University of Turku in 2020. Before, I gained the bachelor’s degree in Japanese from Donghua University in Shanghai from 2012 to 2016. I also spent one year learning Korean at Seoul National University before starting the master’s program. I have a strong research interest in AI in East Asia, especially AI in eldercare. Currently, I am writing the first article that will be included in the doctoral dissertation. It is a research focused on the AI ethics in China. Finding out how Chinese scholars are dressing the key concerns about AI is the main object of the research and it uses systematic literature review as the main method.


Joanne Kuai, the Ander Center for Research on News and Opinion in the Digital Era (NODE), Karlstad University
Currently a PhD candidate at Karlstad University, Sweden, Joanne Kuai is a media scholar with a research focus on data and AI for media, computational journalism, and social implications of automation and algorithms. Born and raised in mainland China, she majored in documentary filmmaking and broadcasting journalism at the Communications University of China. In Macau, she acted as a news reporter and anchor at local TV station Teledifusão de Macau and afterwards as an editor at Macau Business. Later, she moved to Lisbon to pursue the study of the Portuguese language before participating in Erasmus Mundus Master’s in Journalism, Media, and Globalization, with first year spent at Aarhus University, Denmark, and second year specializing in Business and Financial Journalism at City, University of London.


Hong Yu Liu, PhD candidate, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge 
Hong Yu Liu is a PhD candidate at the Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge, UK. He received his Master of Social Science in Media, Culture and Creative Cities from The University of Hong Kong (2017) and Bachelor of Social Science in Communication from Hong Kong Baptist University (2015). Hong Yu's doctoral research project investigates the impact of new technology on the work experience of knowledge workers in China's tech industry.  He also has a long standing interest in the relationships between technology, job quality and labour activism in Asia. 


Amanda Brødsgaard, MA in Japan Studies, University of Copenhagen 
Just finished her thesis on humanoid robots and Artificial Intelligence in Japan, focusing on how ideas of humanity are produced and reproduced in the development of this technology. What notions of humanity are reproduced in the creation of humanoids and AI? Which societal ideals do we transfer to the realms of robotics, and why? Is there a cultural difference in the construction of the perfect humanoid? In short, my thesis will be a study of the areas where humanity and technology interact and cocreate one another.

NIAS researcher publishes interviews in main Danish newspapers

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

NIAS researcher, Andreas Bøje Forsby, has given interviews on the Chinese sanctions against the EU with all three main Danish newspapers. Find links to all three interviews below (in Danish):

  • Click here for Politiken
  • Click here for Berlingske
  • Click here for Jyllandsposten

PhD scholarship at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen (UCPH)

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Applications are invited for PhD scholarships at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen. Enrolment will be at the Faculty of Social Sciences under Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences.

The position starting date is 1 September 2021.

Application deadline is 23:59 CEST, 3 May 2021.  

At the Department of Political Science, we strive to explore the present and shape the future by educating PhD students at the highest academic level. This we do by creating a pluralistic and engaging research environment that brings together PhD students, researchers and the surrounding society in innovative ways. Daily life at the Department reflects the easy-going nature of life in Copenhagen. Faculties interact with students and each other in a relaxed atmosphere that invites deliberation. Here researchers can share experience and insights, and experiment with combining approaches and bridging gaps on an interdisciplinary level.

In line with this, the 2019 international evaluation panel concluded that the Political Science Department offers outstanding resources as well as a collegial work and research environment to its PhD fellows. PhDs highlighted that they feel accepted and respected as staff, that they have resources to fund research trips as well as opportunities to invite scholars to offer additional PhD training and that they are part of a research environment in which critical feedback is offered in a supportive way. The PhD scholars are comparatively well paid as a PhD student is regarded as a member of faculty holding a full time job.

The PhD programme provides PhD students with strong research training, which opens up a window of opportunity to a variety of careers within the private and public sectors. The programme includes the drafting of a PhD thesis, active participation in research networks, PhD courses, teaching, and other forms of knowledge dissemination. The PhD programme can be undertaken as a three year full-time study within the framework of the 5+3 study programme, or as a four year full-time study programme within the framework of the 4+4 study programme.   

Duties and Responsibilities
Further information about the PhD study programme is available on the website of Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences:

Under "Legal basis" on the website you will find information about the rules and guidelines for the PhD programme and the Danish Ministerial Order on the PhD programme at the Universities. 

Information about the PhD study programme is also available on the PhD website of the Department of Political Science.

Applicants should familiarise themselves with the research strategy and the ongoing research at the Department before submitting their application. Further information can be found:



  • The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding society, and invites all qualified applicants, regardless of personal background, to apply for the positions
  • In order to be awarded a PhD scholarship the applicant has to enroll as a PhD student at the Faculty of Social Sciences, cf. the rules of the Danish Ministerial order No 1039 of 27 August 2013
  • Please note that normally there is strong competition for these scholarships, and only a few can be awarded each term

Scholarship in the 5+3 or in the 4+4 PhD study programme
The 5+3 PhD study programme 

In order to be eligible for a scholarship in the 5+3 PhD study programme the applicant must have completed a two year MSc degree programme, or have earned 120 ECTS credits at an equivalent academic level before starting his or her employment. Applicants should check the study programmes for more detailed descriptions of the entry requirements. PhD students are paid a salary in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). The PhD student has a work obligation of up to 840 hours over the 3 year period of time without additional pay. The work obligation can include for instance teaching.  

The 4+4 PhD study programme 

Students who have completed a BSc plus 60 ECTS of an MSc degree programme would enrol as PhD students simultaneously with their enrolment in the MSc degree programme. Applicants should check the study programmes for more detailed descriptions of the entry requirements. Until an MSc degree is obtained, the grant is paid partly in the form of up to 48 state education grant portions (in Danish: SU-klip). More specifically the PhD student will be paid two grant portions per month plus salary for work (teaching, presentations etc.) which totals a workload of at least 280 hours. Payment and conditions of employment are carried out in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). Upon completion of the MSc degree the student is transferred to the salary-earning part of the PhD studies. The PhD fellow is expected to seek funding for fieldwork as this is not included in the scholarship.  

How to apply
Submit a complete application at our online portal. Click on the “Apply for position” icon at the bottom of the page to apply. The documents must be in Adobe PDF or Word.

  • Project abstract (Please fill in the project abstract in the application form. Must not exceed 1.200 characters.)
  • Cover Letter (detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project )
  • Project description (recommended no more than 12,000 keystrokes not including bibliography) 
  • CV   
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)   
  • Time schedule 
  • Budget 
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications, documentation of English language qualifications (if any)  

Please note that it is only possible to upload one document per attachment category. If more than one document has to be uploaded in the same category, please make sure that they are scanned and collected into one file.  

Application process
On the website of Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences you will find information about the application process, and enclosures to include with your electronic application:

The recruitment process
Further information on the recruitment process at University of Copenhagen can be found here:

The following criteria are used when shortlisting candidates for assessment: 

1. Research qualifications as reflected in the project proposal. 

2. Quality and feasibility of the project.  

3. Qualifications and knowledge in relevant Political Science disciplines. 

4. Performance (grades obtained) in graduate and post-graduate studies. 

5. Department of Political Science can offer adequate supervision for the research topic in question. 

Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the assessment committee, and each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself. You can read about the recruitment process here

NIAS researcher has commentary in Politiken

Monday, March 8, 2021 - 17:15

NIAS Researcher, Andreas Bøje Forsby, has published another commentary in Politiken. He writes about the potential diplomatic boycotts that the 2022 Winter Olympics in China may be facing. Read it here (in Danish).

New Virtual SUPRAs at NIAS

We are happy to announce that we are continuing our online format of the SUPRA programme! This means that four new students follow a prolonged online programme. It is a great pleasure to welcome the second round of online SUPRAs:

Amit Singh, PhD, Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal

Amit is PhD student in Human Rights in Contemporary Societies, he is also a SYLFF fellow, a Fritt Ord scholar, and a research associate at the Centre for the Study at Indian Languages and Society in India. Amit holds MSc. in Human rights and multiculturalism from the University of South-Eastern Norway and M.A. in Human rights from Mahidol University, Thailand. Amit’s doctoral research focuses on the conflict between freedom of expression and religion. Using the framework of contextual secularism, his research explores the conflict resolution between a secular Indian state with its religious Hindu majority who consider offensive anything which offends their religious sentiments. His recent book is The Conflict of Freedom of Expression and Religion- A Case Study from India, 2018 His particular area of interests are freedom of expression, Hindu fundamentalism, secularism, multiculturalism and Hindu-Muslim communal conflict.


Chiara Elisabeth Pecorari, MA, Social Anthropology, University of Bergen

Chiara's background is in social anthropology, having attained her BA from the University of Bergen. Her current MA project, also at UiB, focuses on the future prospects, expectations and imaginings of Hong Kong youth in the face of the many changes the region is currently experiencing. The Hong Kong anti-government protests during the summer and autumn of 2019 prove to be a turning point for the Special Administrative Region (SAR). The large-scale popular engagement, spearheaded youth brought questions of identity, future and belonging up to the surface. Through a 6 month long ethnographic field work, which will be conducted in the spring of 2021, the project seeks to find answers questions such as how youth experience and view the notion of a “Hong Kong community,” and how belonging in the SAR are experienced in light of the current political environment.

Oyuna Baldakova, PhD, the Graduate School of East Asian Studies, the Free University of Berlin

Oyuna was also a 2016-2019 fellow of the German Research Foundation. Her interests lie in the fields of political economy for development, China’s foreign economic policy, energy transition, and sustainable development in Eurasia. In her doctoral project, Oyuna investigates how China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a regional development and infrastructure building platform, is being institutionalized in Beijing and implemented in light of the economic, political, and social realities of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. She has a Bachelor’s in Foreign Languages (English, Chinese) at Buryat State University, Russia and a Master’s degree in Modern East Asian Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany. After that, she interned at UNESCO Bangkok. During her doctoral research fieldwork, Oyuna was affiliated with Peking University in China and KIMEP University in Kazakhstan, she was also a visiting fellow at the Mercator Institute for China Studies and the University of California at Berkeley.


Stine Lien Johansen, MA , Social Anthropology, University of Oslo

I am working on my master’s degree in Social anthropology at the University of Oslo. Previously, I have a BA in Social Anthropology and a BA in Export marketing. During my BA in Social Anthropology, I studied Chinese politics, language, and history to prepare for my ethnographic fieldwork in China. I also took an Erasmus exchange in University of Aberdeen to expand my international knowledge. My thesis is based upon a 5-month fieldwork i had in 2020 in Hangzhou, China. The thesis delves into examining the way COVID-19 affect aspects of emigrant workers life in Hangzhou. These are aspects such as the rise of nationalism during these contemporary times, stigmas, identity, usage of technology surveillance, and economy to gain a holistic view.  My data is collected from interviews, observations, and participating in their life during the epidemic. Furthermore, I am going to use comparative examples from cases in different parts of the world as well as these impact my informants in certain ways.



New Virtual SUPRAs at NIAS

We are happy to announce that we have resumed the SUPRA programme and reconfigured it to an online format! This means that four students follow a prolonged online programme. It is a great pleasure to welcome:

Jaana Pesonen, MA & MSS, University of Helsinki & University of Lapland
My background in studies and work life is in business management and optimizing costs, systems, organizations (people) etc. I furthered my studies when I got interested in behavioral economics and the effects thereafter on culture in behavior. Currently, I am studying at the university of Helsinki for my MA focusing on matters of South Korea (and Asia) under area and culture research. For my past degrees I have completed student exchanges in Japan and South Korea. For the master's thesis I will be focusing in here is the one I will be doing for the University of Lapland on management under social sciences. My research focuses on how women in South Korea (under 40/35-year old’s) describe their life in the society (dreams, goals, and possibilities regarding work/equality/having children/marriage etc.).


Karo Niza-Kondwa Kankus, MA, Centre of East Asian Studies (CEAS), University of Turku
My name is Karo Kankus and my background is in study of General History from University of Eastern Finland, from where I gained my Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts. Even then I studied Japanese language and culture and my bachelor's thesis was on Finnish military lecture's on Russo-Japanese War. At the moment I study at University of Turku, where I heard a multitude of positive feedback concerning NIAS. After transferring to CEAS iN University of Turku I set out to write a thesis on foreign female sex workers, previously known as "japayuki-san",   and their portrayal in Japanese newspapers. I hope to finish my project by this year's end and have already received tips and interesting feedback from people of NIAS. In the future I hope to contribute further to the field of Asian Studies.


Dosol Lee, MA, Peace and Conflict Transformation, The Arctic University of Norway (UiT)
Dosol Lee's master's degree thesis revolves around the identity politics of the North Korean defectors analyzed from a biopolitical perspective.

Dosol Lee grew up in Seoul, Republic of Korea and completed her B.A. in Scandinavian languages from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS). While pursuing her B.A. degree, she was selected as a student researcher for an interdisciplinary project supported by the Korean Ministry of Education and conducted her independent research (2017) on public educational broadcasters in Korea and Sweden which resulted in 40-page of a research paper. She has been awarded scholarships by the Swedish Women’s Educational Association (2014), the Swedish Institute (2016), and the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (2021).


Simona Siegel, MA, South East Asia Section, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, SOAS, University of London
Simona graduated from Masaryk University (Czech republic) with a BA degree in Culture Studies of China. During her studies she spent one year studying Chinese language and culture in Beijing and travelling around China and Asia. Currently she is studying an MA South East and Pacific Asian studies at SOAS, University of London. Her research focuses on the ethnography of the Pacific and South East Asia, with the focus on social and family issues in South Korea. Thanks to the SUPRA Nordic scholarship she had an exciting opportunity to work on her dissertation project about the impact of urbanism on Korean families, with the focus on adult Korean women and their gender roles. During the meetings with the experts from NIAS she learnt skills that would be useful in her future career.

Making Sense of Myanmar’s 1.2.21 Military Coup

Thursday, February 4, 2021 - 15:00

On 8 November last year, Myanmar (also known as Burma) held a general election that returned Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy to power. But just as the new parliament was about to be convened on Monday, the army seized power, ostensibly for a year, alleging electoral irregularities.

Posters of Aung San Suu Kyi

How did this military putsch come to pass? What does the coup mean for Myanmar’s political future? Is this part of a wider authoritarian shift in politics across Asia, and indeed globally?

Join us for an academic discussion of the unfolding crisis.

Speakers will include Helene Maria Kyed (DIIS) and Stein Tønnesson (PRIO), both of whom have spent extended periods conducting research in Myanmar during recent years, along with political scientists Myat The Thitsar (UMass Lowell) and Matthew Walton (Toronto), who follow the country’s politics closely.

The event will be moderated by NIAS Director Duncan McCargo.

Register here to receive Zoom link.


logos adi nias


logos prio diis seasi nysean


Postdoctoral Position in Asian Studies

Friday, January 8, 2021 - 23:45

The Asian Dynamics Initiative and the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, University of Copenhagen (UCPH), invite candidates for a postdoctoral position in Asian Studies. The field of specialism is open, but we are especially interested in candidates working on modern and contemporary East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia in fields across the humanities and social sciences. Successful candidates may be affiliated with an appropriate academic department.

The position is for 24 months, from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.

University of Copenhagen (founded 1479) is a major European research university with 37,500 students and 9,400 staff, located across four campuses in the Danish capital. It is the largest educational institution in Denmark.

Asian Dynamics Initiative (ADI) is a cross-faculty Asia focus at the University of Copenhagen. ADI aims at coordinating existing research and teaching on Asia as well as creating a common platform for new, interdisciplinary Asian studies and research.

The overall purpose of the initiative is to strengthen and develop research and teaching on Asia. ADI organizes interdisciplinary research activities, courses, seminars and workshops covering social, economic, political, cultural, and religious complexities in Asia. ADI is based in the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Social Sciences.

The Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS), founded in 1968, is a well-established research centre, with a particular focus on social science and humanities research on contemporary Asia. NIAS has a broad Nordic mandate and a range of partners around the region, but is administratively part of the University of Copenhagen and hosted by the Department of Political Science.

For further details, see these webpages:

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Research and publishing in the field of appointment
  • Teaching an Asia-related class in an appropriate Department
  • Creating greater educational synergies between Humanities and Social Science in the field of Asian studies
  • Collaborating on the development of relevant grant and funding applications
  • Strategic communication, including podcasts, media, social media and outreach activity

Your Competencies and Opportunities


The candidate must have:

  • Obtained a PhD degree in humanities or social science field
  • Expertise in Asian studies demonstrated through one or more competencies including language proficiency, scholarly networks and collaborations in the region.  
  • Track record of academic publications with well-regarded journals and/or publishers, and/or advanced plans for turning the PhD thesis into such publications
  • A research agenda related to Asian studies


Preferably, the candidate will also have:

  • Experience of teaching at university level
  • Experience of presenting academic papers at international conference and seminars
  • Asian language competency
  • Experience in engaging with and presenting to external users of academic research
  • Experience in working on research grants from international sources


  • Research and publishing in the field of appointment
  • Collaborating on the development of relevant grant and funding applications
  • Teaching a related class in a relevant department, as appropriate
  • Creating greater synergies between ADI, NIAS and relevant university departments
  • Strategic communication, including podcasts, media, social media and outreach activity
  • Some travel for conferences and dissemination activity, depending on domestic and global conditions

Terms of Employment

The recruitment process
Further information on the recruitment process at University of Copenhagen can be found here:

An Equal Opportunity Workplace
The University of Copenhagen is committed in its pursuit of academic excellence to equality of opportunity and to creating an inclusive working environment and therefore encourages all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of personal background, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, ethnicity etc. For more on the diverse working place environment at the University and the University’s participation in the HRS4R HR Excellence in Research, see

International applicant?
The University of Copenhagen offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including support before and during your relocation and career counselling to expat partners. Please find more information about these services as well as information on entering and working in Denmark here:

Contact information
Additional information about the position can be obtained from Duncan McCargo, e-mail:, phone +45 353-24628.

Further information about the application procedure is available from HR, e-mail: Please refer to ID number 211-0629/20-2I #1.

How to apply
Submit a complete application at our online portal. Click here to apply. The documents must be in Adobe PDF or Word.  

Your application must be written in English and include the following documents:

  • Cover letter explaining your motives for applying
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Diplomas (master and bachelor)
  • Two sample publications or conference papers

The closing date for applications is the 8 of January 2021, 23:59 CET.

Applications or enclosures received thereafter will not be considered.