Activity Report (1998) Preface - Projects Supported by Asia Center

Through an open grant competition, the Asia Center responds to requests for funding from a variety of organizations, providing grants to cover partial expenses of carrying out international collaborative projects that may involve research or documentation, workshops or conferences, training of human resources, or dissemination of research through print or audio-visual publications.

In this the fourth year of grant-making, we again received a larger number of applications than the previous year; 1998-243; 1997-241; 1996-233; 1995-149. After a process of assessment, evaluation, and recommendation by Japan Foundation Staff abroad and in Tokyo, the Foundation's Board of Directors agreed to dispense a total of \235,152,978 for 104 projects, including projects that were granted supplements for a second or third year. This thus represented a 42.7 percent success rate, indicating that our grants are becoming some what more selective as we prepare to move into our 5 th year; the average grant size was \2.2 million.

A summary of each project, the name of the grantee, title of the project, and amount awarded are provided in Part 2 below. Here we shall give a brief overview of the kinds of projects that were funded, organized according to the Asia Center's five program priorities. It should be noted that these categories unavoidably overlap and the classification of projects is mainly for purposes of retrospective analysis.

Increasing Mutual Understanding and Tolerance for Diversity

Just under half of these projects (13 out of 26) were initiated and proposed by institutions in Japan, though all involved substantial collaboration with Asian partners and a focus on regional issues. Under this rubric are projects that either focused on the academic study of Asia including area studies within Asia or that examined the state of particular academic fields in Asia.

Addressing Common Problems Requiring International Cooperation

24 grant-support projects were categorized under the heading of international cooperation which looked at a range of issues including environmental issues, international security and economic relations.

Contribution to the Development of an Equitable and Open Society

This rubric included 21 projects which look at such varied issues as child labor, human rights, empowerment of women and civil societies as well as the preservation of minority cultures in Asia.

Preserving, Documenting, and Increasing Access to Tangible and Intangible Culture

Cultural preservation projects continued to comprise a significant percentage of Asia Center-supported projects (26 projects). Under this heading, the Asia Center supported efforts to preserve or increase access to historical, literary and artistic documents; to ensure the transmission of orally transmitted folklore and performing arts traditions; to preserve or document architectural or archaeological sites; and to promote and preserve traditional handicrafts.

Sustaining the Vitality of Artistic Traditions in Changing Contexts

The seven projects in this category share some concerns with the previous one-cultural preservation-but the emphasis here is on the links between modern, creative expressions and the region's rich cultural heritage.

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