Firing Up Regional Brain Networks: The Promise of Brain Circulation in the ASEAN Economic Community

Publication | February 2017

ASEAN is on the threshold of substantially expanding the regional mobility of the highly skilled, but member states must address a number of challenges.

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The goal of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) of encouraging intraregional mobility must be understood in the context of changing population dynamics, rising educational levels and aspirations, and increasingly dynamic—if complex—economic forces.

This report explores the forces that are poised to transform the supply, demand, and mobility of skilled professionals across ASEAN, and the unique opportunities their convergence presents for human capital development and brain circulation within Southeast Asia. It draws on the insights of nearly 400 ASEAN and member state officials, private sector employers, training directors, and others who participated in focus group discussions, meetings, and surveys.


  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Human Capital Development and Mobility: The Impact of Megatrends
  • Two Pressing Challenges Facing ASEAN: Brain Waste and Brain Drain
  • Brain Circulation in ASEAN Today: Growing and Diversifying Flows
  • Facilitating Brain Circulation: Three Steps in the Right Direction
  • Data Needs and Priorities for Informed Policymaking
  • Moving Forward toward Skill Mobility: Implications at the Regional and National Levels
  • Appendixes

Additional Details

  • Education
  • Tertiary and higher education
  • Regional cooperation and integration
  • Social development and protection
  • Migration, trafficking, and human mobility
  • Social protection - labor and employment
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Tajikistan
  • Viet Nam
  • 68
  • 8.5 x 11
  • RPT178635-2
  • 978-92-9257-731-5 (print)
  • 978-92-9257-732-2 (electronic)

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