In 2000, the UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) received a grant of $270,000 from the Ford Foundation for a Postdoctoral Fellowship project entitled "Crossing Borders in the Study of Southeast Asia."
The Ford Crossing Borders initiative had two aims: firstly, to support intensive study of particular languages, cultures and histories building on the first half of the century of work in area studies; and secondly, to foster innovative thinking and practices related to the field of area studies itself.
Funded by the Ford initiative, between 2000 and 2004, four Postdoctoral Fellows held a one-year residency at UCLA CSEAS. The Postdoctoral Fellows engaged in research and teaching and were able to successfully launch themselves into the job market after their residency. CSEAS and the Ford grant provided Fellows with a faculty advisor, staff assistance, office space, a computer, other technology and support as needed, email and phone access, photocopying, postage and mailing services, library privileges and housing assistance. Fellows who taught UCLA courses also received a course web site, and services from the departments in which their courses were taught.
The concept of "Border Crossing" was successfully implemented as each Fellow investigated Southeast Asian communities in various parts of the world, and across a diverse array of disciplines. The broader UCLA community and CSEAS benefited greatly through lectures, classes, and collegial exchanges from the Fellows. And, the field of Southeast Asian studies consequently gained a wealth of knowledge from each Fellows' extensive research and comprehensive conferences that were organized during their residency. Finally, each Fellow left UCLA well-positioned to continue as experts in the field of Asian and Southeast Asian Studies in their future professional lives -- an important goal of any Postdoctoral Fellowship program.