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South and Southeast Asia

The Sanford School of Public Policy’s connection to South and Southeast Asia is strong and growing. For example, after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, faculty members Elizabeth Frankenberg and Duncan Thomas collaborated with colleagues in Indonesia to develop a longitudinal survey to study the impacts of the tsunami and to track recovery. The project has followed 30,000 survivors, conducting surveys every year for the first five years, and is still working in the region.

Many Sanford students participate in a special summer programs in south and southeast Asia, like one based in India. Faculty members conduct policy research in both urban slums and rural villages. The school also helped design a master’s program in environmental public policy at Vietnam National University.

In addition, we offer custom-designed executive education programs to government officials in developing countries. Typically such training is offered through the Duke Center for International Development (DCID). Students come to study at Duke, and scholars often travel to provide training locally.

survey conducted with new mother in India

Assistant Professor Manoj Mohanan evaluated a promising health program in Gujarat in western India. The program paid private doctors to offer hospital births to poor women. The program was launched in early 2006 in five northern districts, and scaled out to the rest of the state by the end of 2007. By 2012, over 800 private-sector hospitals had participated and the program had helped pay for more than 800,000 deliveries. As a part of the evaluation, Mohanan's team collected data on birth histories and outcomes from 6,000 households in Gujarat.


Emerging leaders from Central and Southern Asian countries, all of them women, visited the Sanford School last week to learn about research on counter-terrorism and community policing to stop violent extremism. The 10 women leaders from seven countries included governmental, law enforcement, and nonprofit leaders from Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Nepal and Pakistan.