Foreign Policy & Security Studies


Initially named the Bureau of Security and Foreign Policy Studies and then as the Bureau of Foreign Policy and Security Studies, the Foreign Policy & Security was established to provide timely and relevant policy analyses in those areas affecting Malaysia’s comprehensive strategic interests. It seeks to foster greater insight, understanding and discourse through its research, networking and outreach activities and actively promotes, and engages in, ‘track two’ diplomacy with partners from within and outside the region.


Foreign Policy & Security’s objectives revolve around three major components:

  • Substantive research and analysis to form the basis of policy recommendations;
  • The provision of information avenues for exchange and dialogue through the organization of conferences, colloquial, fora, lectures and seminars; and
  • Inter- and intra-regional networking through the ‘track two’ process.

The Asia-Pacific Roundtable (APR)

It has also hosted the Asia-Pacific Roundtable series since its launch in 1987 to promote trust and confidence in the Asia-Pacific region. As a Track Two forum, the APR brings together think tanks, academics, media representatives and senior government officials acting in their personal capacity to engage in candid dialogue regarding the major security challenges confronting the region. Over the past two decades, the APR has gained a reputation as the premier Track Two forum in the region, bringing together over 250 participants and observers to its recent annual conferences.

The APR has consistently viewed security as comprehensive in nature, encompassing critical threats to human well-being and livelihood in the political, economic, social, environmental and conventional security areas. The APR agenda therefore includes such disparate topics as, among others, arms races, globalisation, human rights, maritime security, transnational crime and terrorism.

The APR has received the consistent and unwavering patronage of successive Prime Ministers, Deputy Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers of Malaysia. The two former Prime Ministers of Malaysia, Tun Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, have delivered the bulk of the keynote addresses at the APR since its inception. This support from the highest levels of leadership has added stature and substance to the Roundtable process.

The APR is a project of the ASEAN Institutes of Strategic and International Studies (ASEAN-ISIS), with ISIS Malaysia as the anchor institution for the convening the conference. From 1993-2007, the convening of the APR was made possible by the support of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Other agencies that have supported APR recently include the CIMB Group, the Konrad Adenaur Stiftung , the Asia Foundation and the Embassy of Japan in Kuala Lumpur.

The Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (CSCAP)

ISIS Malaysia is the leading institution for the Malaysian committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (CSCAP). CSCAP is a Track Two process which aims to mirror the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Representatives from CSCAP's 21 Member Committees from across Asia, Europe and North America take part in policy-oriented discussions in its Study Groups, which cover issues such as energy security, human trafficking and peacekeeping. CSCAP Malaysia also acts as the CSCAP Secretariat.