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A note from the Director

Borneo, with an area of 743,330 square kilometres, is the third largest island in the world, and is the largest in Southeast Asia. It has long captured people’s imaginations and drawn academic interests from scholars in natural and social sciences. The natural, ecological and cultural diversities of the island have historically provided the exciting experience and opportunities for sciences to grow, develop and prosper. Eminent founders of biological and social disciplines in the likes of Alfred R. Wallace, Alfred C. Haddon and Edmund Ronald Leach through their research in the region, have contributed towards the formulation of new empiricism that not only deal with unique Bornean situations but also responsive to the problems of humanity broadly.

The island’s rich cultural diversity and multilayered archaeological sites provide opportunities to discover and share insights into its rich human, historical and natural landscapes. Equally important is Borneo’s environment and bio-diversity and their significant contributions to the fields of ecology, climate change, sustainability and human ecosystems’ understanding and management. This is made clear from global debates on Borneo’s ecosystem, which promotes a holistic perspective on the environment and economic development.

The island of Borneo is going to host Indonesia’s capital city, as announced by the Indonesian President -  President Joko Widodo, is expected to be a game changer at many levels; all which beg multi-dimensional considerations. What’s going to happen on Borneo matters. Not only for Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia but for Southeast Asia. In response, the Institute of Borneo Studies (IBS) attempts to reorient its position to meet contemporary scenarios while maintaining the seriousness of the past and history. Turning to Borneo’s unique position as a “place that connects” space, time, ideas, objects and people, IBS is dedicated to advance Borneo knowledge through building research capacity for transnational, historical, comparative, collaborative as well as interdisciplinary works of the island in an intellectually vibrant environment. As it is, Borneo Studies has much to offer to the general corpus of the natural sciences, social and human sciences. More so now to provide Borneo perspectives on contemporary global issues, challenges and imperatives, as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), to inform policies, development and best practices.

Poline Bala
PhD Social Anthropology (Cambridge)
M.A. Asian Studies (Cornell)
B.A (Hons) Southeast Asian Studies (UM) 

Director, Institute of Borneo Studies 
Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Chief Editor, Journal of Borneo Kalimantan
Head of Dayak Research Chair
Research Fellow, Institute of Social Informatics and Technological Innovations
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) 
94300 Kota Samarahan 
Sarawak, Malaysia.