Asian Borderlands Research Network

Coronavirus update

UPDATE 27 March 2020 - Asian Borderlands Conference Seoul - Postponed due to COVID-19 Outbreak

Dear participants,

After careful consideration of the increasing spread of the coronavirus (official name SARS-CoV-2) and evaluation of the survey results, the Asian Borderlands Conference Committee, has taken the difficult decision to postpone the conference Borderland Futures: Technologies, Zones, Co-existences, which was originally scheduled from 25-27 June 2020 in Seoul, South Korea.

The safety and health of our participants is our foremost priority. We also think that we should do what we can to reduce the numbers of people travelling between countries at the present time to minimise the risk of the virus spreading further. By taking this decision now, we hope to minimise any stress or inconvenience for our participants.

New Dates
The conference will be postponed until 24 -26 June 2021 and we are happy to announce that the Reconciliation & Coexistence in Contact Zone (RCCZ) Research Center continues their support to co-organise the conference at Chung-Ang University, Seoul, South Korea.

The planning of the conference was well underway, with nearly 200 participants and more than 40 confirmed sessions scheduled to take place over the course of three days. We look forward to holding the conference in 2021, which will give participants the opportunity to present and discuss their work, make valued connections, and build collaborations with colleagues around the world.

Your Proposal
All individual presentation, panel and roundtable proposals that have been accepted for presentation will remain in the programme unless the presenters notify us that they wish to withdraw. It will therefore not be necessary to resubmit the proposal.

Registration Fee
All paid registrations will be automatically transferred to the new dates, no action is needed. If you are unable to attend the conference in 2021, you may cancel and receive a full refund of your registration fee, please contact us to arrange for the refund. The early bird registration fee will be extended until 1 February 2021.


If you have booked already a flight ticket/accommodation, please contact your airline company/accommodation provider as soon as possible to inquire about change/cancellation policies. Many airlines decided to be very flexible regarding flight changes due to the current situation. If you need an official letter from the organisers about the postponement for refund purposes, please contact us.

Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Ms Martina van den Haak at

We hope for your understanding for the postponement of the conference, and we would like to wish you all good health in these challenging times.

We hope to see you at the conference in Seoul in June 2021.

With kind regards,

Martina van den Haak
Seminar Coordinator IIAS

On behalf of the Asian Borderlands Conference Committee

  • Duncan McDuie-Ra, University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Erik de Maaker, Leiden University, the Netherlands
  • Henryk Alff, Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, Germany
  • Juan Zhang, Bristol University, United Kingdom
  • Kee-Hyun Ban, Reconciliation & Coexistence in Contact Zone (RCCZ) Research Center, South Korea
  • Tina Harris, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Willem van Schendel, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

UPDATE 11 March 2020
The Asian Borderlands Conference Committee is aware of the growing concerns about the increasing international spread of the coronavirus (official name virus SARS-CoV-2, causing illness COVID-19) and our thoughts go out to those who are affected by the virus.

We understand that participants have queries with regard to the continuation of the Asian Borderlands conference. We are closely monitoring the information posted by the by World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

With the conference dates 3,5 months away, we still have good hopes that the conference can take place as scheduled. We are working closely with the local host, Reconciliation & Coexistence in Contact Zone (RCCZ) Research Center, in order to respond to the latest developments. 

We are reviewing our options regarding the in-person 7th Asian Borderlands conference in Seoul, including offering the option for remote presentation for those facing travel restrictions. As part of our review, we have sent the participants a short survey. This will assist us with our deliberations.  

We will continue to monitor the situation and will post a new update with new information as it becomes available.

UPDATE 10 February 2020
We are aware of the current outbreak and developments regarding the Coronavirus. At this time we are not anticipating disruptions to the Asian Borderlands conference in Seoul and there are currently then also no plans to cancel or postpone the conference. The conference preparations are in full swing.

We will monitor the situation and update participants should the situation change and affect the conference. More information is expected to become available in the coming weeks, which will equip us better to provide advice regarding travelling to Seoul in June, and if there are any precautions that participants should follow. 

Taking the developments into consideration, it has been decided to extend the early bird deadline to 1 April. 

Our thoughts go out to the people who are at the center of the epidemic and those affected by the virus. 

If you have any questions, please contact Ms Martina van den Haak at