What's New from the Secretariat July

The first semester classes of ASAFAS ended on July 14. On the following day, the last Executive Committee meeting before the vacation was held. Looking first at reports, an explanation was given on the state of planning for the graduate student workshop scheduled to be held at the end of October. As reported earlier, the gears were shifted for this workshop, to place greater emphasis on the initiative of the graduate students in planning and running it. So far, the preparations have been carried out mainly by the graduate students and young faculty members on the Workshop Organizing Committee. Calls for participation in the workshop have been made not through e-mail or posters, but rather by having the students on the Workshop Organizing Committee communicate directly with other students in their respective divisions of ASAFAS or other universities. This month's report showed that in comparison to a top-down process led by faculty, things were going a bit slower, but the workshop, with fieldwork as a common theme, was beginning to take shape in the hands of the graduate students, with the students themselves writing up the prospectus, for example. The plans from now on are to have two planning meetings during the summer vacation to fix the contents, line-up of presentations, and name of the workshop, and to begin full-fledged preparations in September. A report will be given at the September Executive Committee meeting, for final confirmation.

A report was then given by the Program Leader on the state of the International Symposium to be held next year, following the decision to scratch previous plans to hold it in Indonesia. From discussions with the International Cooperation Section of the Administration Bureau of Kyoto University on the university's grants for international conferences, it was found that the University will continue to provide a grant next year on a competitive basis and that the application deadline for next fiscal year is September 30, so there is still time. The Program is exploring the possibility of holding the symposium in Thailand, and the Leader reported that a conclusion should be reached by the middle of September. In response to his report, members of the meeting stressed the importance of establishing a back-up system within the Executive Committee, and this was confirmed.

From the Public Relations Section, a report was given on the rearrangement of the items on the top page of the Japanese website. As reported at last month's meeting, the structure of the top page has improved greatly. I would like to encourage anyone who has not taken a look at our website recently to do so. According to the Public Relations Section, issues that still need to be dealt with include the setting up of mutual links with other websites, as well as the renewal of the overall graphic design of the top page itself.

The Field Station Section reported that recruitment has begun for the second half of this fiscal year for grants for overseas survey expenses of graduate students. The deadline is September 15. Considering that there are probably students who would like to leave for their fieldwork in early October, it was decided to carry out the process flexibly, without waiting for the October Executive Committee meeting for confirmation of the selection results.

A major item for discussion this month involved a budget of 6.55 million yen for the acquisition of books and journals for Southeast Asian studies. Because other budget was appropriated, the 6.55 million yen was returned to the Program and concurrently a fresh request is made for support from the Program of 3 million yen for the purchase of materials in vernacular languages. Various opinions were given on the usage of the money to be returned, and as there was no disagreement on the new request or the requested amount, discussions will be held at the Executive Committee meeting in September on the use of the balance of 3.55 million yen, on the premise that the new request will be accepted at the same meeting as well.

Another issue of discussion was the dispatch of a faculty member from another university to a field station. This person was originally on the faculty of ASAFAS, but moved to another university, and is still engaged in the education of graduate students at one of our FSs. It was decided that in the future as well, the program would provide support in such cases.

The remaining agenda item concerned the question of who will carry on the work of the Executive Committee and Secretariat during the summer vacation. Many members of the Executive Committee and Secretariat are anxiously waiting for the end of this month's meeting to go off on fieldwork. I'd like to wish those who stay in Kyoto the best in overcoming the hot summer, and to those who go away on fieldwork, to take good care of their health. (Kato)

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