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Milton Osborne

Dr Milton Osborne is a visiting fellow at the Lowy Institute. He has been associated with Southeast Asia for more than fifty years since being posted to the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh in 1959. He has held academic positions in Australia, the UK, US and Singapore. He was a consultant to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees in relation to the Cambodian refugee problem, and served as Head of the Asia Branch of the Office of National Assessments.

Since 1993 he has been an independent writer and consultant on Asian issues, based in Sydney, and has also been an adjunct professor and visiting fellow in the Faculty of Asian Studies at the Australian National University, Canberra. He is the author of ten books on the history and politics of Southeast Asia.


Articles by Milton Osborne (68)

  • A bad dry season on the Mekong

    With the end of the dry season in the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB) — a period roughly running from November to May — the magnitude of the problems affecting the Mekong River is starkly apparent.
  • A new Phnom Penh chancery and memories of other days

    In conjunction with the recent launch of the Lowy Institute's Global Diplomacy Index, we present a series of pieces on embassies and embassy experiences. Today the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh is housed in a purpose-built chancery opened in June 2009. It replaced a former residential building purchased in 1992 and converted to use as a chancery until the new embassy was built.
  • Mekong: New photos reveal true scale of dam

    Xayaburi Dam under construction, July 2015. (Taken from this PP presentation by Pöyry, posted on a Laos government site.) In an Interpreter post on 14 December 2015 ('What's Happening on the Lower Reaches of the Mekong River?'), I referred to a YouTube video that gave a rare, relatively up-to-date view of the controversial Xayaburi dam being built on the Mekong by the Lao government. Shortly after the post was published, the video was taken down.
  • What's happening on the lower reaches of the Mekong River?

    I have posted previously on The Interpreter about the Don Sahong dam, the very controversial project that the Lao government seems determined to build on the Mekong in southern Laos just before it flows into Cambodia. The Lao parliament has approved the project, and various officials have repeatedly confirmed the government's intention to build the dam despite strong opposition from Cambodia and Vietnam.
  • Is the Mekong glass really half-full?

    The Stimson Center in Washington DC has maintained a long and important interest in the future of the Mekong River and, in particular, on hydropower developments associated with the river. Its publications on this topic have always been worth reading.