Public engagement orients our work in all ways. At MSU, MCW is touted as a flagship program for interdisciplinarity and equity in international collaborations. 

A culminating achievement for the MCW network was our co-sponsorship of the Inaugural Mekong Academic Forum at the National University of Laos (2023). Additionally, MCW has co-hosted the SEAsia in Transition webinar series with the University of Hawaii and the East-West Center —an endeavor that aims to democratize dialogues on timely topics across speaker background, location, and focus. 

MCW also drafted and circulated a petition that informed UNESCO’s decision to intervene and temporarily halt the construction of the Luang Prabang dam in 2021. Though construction has now resumed, MCW continues to provide ongoing support to the UNESCO/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring Mission to the Town of Luang Prabang.

MCW collaborators advised the World Bank on interdisciplinary analyses of dam impacts along the Mekong River, contributed to the UNESCO National conference on the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve, and actively assists UNESCO, Pgakenyaw Association for Sustainability and Development (PASD), and Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) in assessing the dispossessions of Karen people in the Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex.

Demonstrating MCW’s commitment to linking interdisciplinary research to meaningful political engagement, MCW provides regular data and research funding support to initiatives led by The Mekong School: Institute of Local Knowledge, a local conservation network based in Chiang Khong, Chiang Rai, Thailand. 

MCW has also supported The Mekong Academic Consortium (MAC ), which was organized by Mae Fah Luang University along with partner Thai institution Ubon Ratchathani University, funded by a grant from the US Embassy in Bangkok. The goals of the MAC are to exchange knowledge from relevant current/recent events between Thai and American scholars, to expand academic community networks in Thailand, and to facilitate the development of joint US/Thai research projects relating to the Mekong River. The MAC thus far has organized a 10-week webinar series(--link to webinar page) ‘Advancing Scientific Capacity, Strengthening Thai-US Academic Network, and Creation of Solutions for a Sustainable Mekong River Basin”, and held a research symposium for local collaborators in Chiang Rai on 2-5 November 2023. The project MAC project has been extended for another year to host four academic forums in Chiang Rai, Loei, Nong Khai, and Ubon Ratchatani.