Foto: Tatan Syuflana


The Asia Programme at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) conducts research and analysis on countries in Asia, relations between Asian countries, and Asian countries’ role in regional and global affairs. We also study relations between the EU and Asia, with a special interest in Sweden’s engagements in the region.

The programme’s geographic focus is mainly on North East Asia and South Asia, with an ambition to gradually expand our research and analysis on South East Asia. While UI’s research on China is predominantly located to the Swedish National China Centre, the Asia Programme also covers China’s influence and relations with countries in the region.

Focus areas

Power relations in Asia

The Indo-Pacific region is central to global security and trade. It is an arena for both cooperation and rivalry involving China, India, and other Asian powers, as well as the US and the EU. Relations in the region are structured by webs of formal alliances, strategic partnerships and multi- and minilaterial institutions. The programme strives to explain change and continuity within diplomatic, military and economic contexts. A significant part of the work is currently focused on the implications of China’s and India’s rise, Japan’s regional engagements and the conflict on the Korean peninsula.

Rising Asia and its global impact

In what ways does Asia’s rise impact the rest of the world, including Europe, the Nordic countries and Sweden? Asia’s influence on the rest of the international community is noticed in multiple areas, including global governance. The economic and diplomatic impact is stronger within certain areas and countries. This has also become evident in Sweden; two examples are the increased interest in the Arctic region and new Asian investments. Conversely, Sweden and the EU has interests in a stable and prosperous Asia.

Norms and democracy in Asia

What happens with political norms and systems in a region that is characterized by rapid economic growth and nationalism inspired by the past, combined with a questioning of western influence? Questions concerning democracy, freedom of speech, internet freedom and civil society are significant for the internal development in countries throughout Asia. The relationship between state and society is affected by both global trends and domestic traditions.


Every year the Asia programme hosts a number of round table discussions as well as several public seminars and webinars. These events attract leading international experts as speakers and the discussions constitute a valuable source on Asia for researchers, students, media, diplomats as well as representatives from both the public and private sector.


The programme produces research-driven publications. These include books, expert opinions, policy-oriented papers and articles in academic journals. Opinion pieces and commentaries are published in Swedish and international press. In addition to an extensive scientific production, the research findings are thus available to policy makers and the general public, in Sweden and internationally.

Partnerships and cooperations

Building on our Institute’s history as a venue for research and practice, the programme welcomes partnerships and cooperation with researchers, institutes, organizations and companies interested in the region. We regularly host foreign guest researchers and welcome delegations.

Since 2009, the Asia programme has co-hosted the monthly seminar series Stockholm Seminar on Japan together with the European Institute of Japanese Studies at Stockholm School of Economics, the Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies at Stockholm University and the Swedish Defence University

The programme curates and hosts the Strategic Forum India twice a year together with Sweden India Business Council.


All events

Research projects

UI's other programmes and centres


Middle East and North Africa

Global Politics and Security

Stockholm Centre for Eastern European Studies

Swedish National China Centre


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