Activity Report (1998) Preface - Projects Administered by the Asia Center


The Projects that the Asia Center has initiated and administered, whether by itself or in collaboration with others, are grouped as: "Intellectual Exchange," by which is meant activities to facilitate dialogue and cooperation among various international partners on a wide variety of topics.


Intellectual Exchange

In 1998, the Asia Center continued support for three programs that encourage interactions among Asian intellectuals: Asia-Pacific Youth Forum and Fellowships for Leaders of the Next Generation, which especially targeted younger participants, and the Asia Leadership Fellow Program, which brought together distinguished intellectual leaders from six countries for two months. Also support was extended to the Preparatory Meeting for the 3rd Conference of Asian Foundations and Organizations which was held in Indonesia.

The Asia Center takes a special interest in how the countries of the former Indo-China are coping with rapid social and political change. Such programs as the Support Program for Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam thus targets those countries as they enter or prepare to enter the ASEAN regional grouping: where the Workshop on Macro-Micro Economics and Economic Development was given by a Japanese Professor at the International Relations Training Center of the Institute of Foreign Affairs in Vientian, to help strengthen its place within the ASEAN regional grouping.

With a strong desire to help in the formation of new paradigms in the study of Asia, and to encourage such study by Asian scholars at Asian Institutions, the Asia Center continued its Support Program for Centers of Asian Studiesat two key institutions (University of Hong Kong and Singapore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies). It also continued to collaborate with the Toyota Foundation in funding and administering the Southeast Asian Studies Regional Exchange Program (SEASREP), which serves as a vehicle for supporting a large number of scholars throughout Southeast Asia. Both projects were conceived as multi-year programs.

Finally, two major initiatives continued into their second year. The first, the ASEAN-Japan Multinational Cultural Mission (MCM) which grew out of a speech by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto where by he called for the formation of "Multinational Cultural Missions" to reinforce multilateral cultural cooperation among ASEAN member countries and Japan. To reflect the thrust of MCM, the Asia Center hosted ASEAN-Japan Cultural Dialogue "Beyond the Crisis: Reflections on Cultural Discourse in Asia."

The second initiative was the 2nd in a series of international symposium held in Okinawa, "Globalization and Asian Civilizations: Implications of Asian Economic Crisis," jointly organized by the Asia Center and the Okinawa Prefectural Government, that focus on regional issues in Asia. It is hoped that we will be able to enhance Okinawa's role as a pivot of international exchange activities in the region.


Publications

The newsletter of the Asian Center, Asia Center News, reports on the projects both of the Center's divisions. Asia Center News, issued three times a year, also contains articles of general interest about Asian cultures and societies, and information about upcoming events relating to Asia in Japan. Published in Japanese, it is targeted at readers in Japan, and is also available on the Japan Foundation's Web site.cieties, and information about upcoming events relating to Asia in Japan. Published in Japanese, it is targeted at readers in Japan, and is also available on the Japan Foundation's Web site.

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