Before established as a research center on June 5, 2001, P2SDR started as a program on Southeast Asian Studies. The program was initiated by Professor Taufik Abdullah in 1998 under the auspices of the Research Center for Society and Culture, to answer critique directed to Indonesian social scientists that Indonesian researchers know so much about their country but little of other countries or nations. At the same time, the increasing pace of transnational movements of people, ideas, and goods have created more interconnectivities among countries, ethnic groups, and cultures. Realizing those processes, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), as the biggest research institute in Indonesia, needs to pay more attention on the transnational dynamics and carry out more research to learn how Indonesia is situated as a node in the transnational connectivity. As the result, P2SDR was inaugurated as a research center for area studies.