What's New from the Secretariat February

The 35th meeting of the Executive Committee was held on February 23. It began with a report on the state of budget execution, followed by one by Prof. OHTA Itaru on several items decided by the Field Station Representatives meeting held on February 16. Concretely, they included a draft budget for FY2006, plan to dispatch students to the FSs, and a hiring plan for COE researchers. Associate Prof. KIMURA Daiji reported that plans are underway to hold a symposium within FY2006 at the initiative of the Network Section, with the theme of informatics in area studies.

There was also a report on the state of preparations for the Satellite Workshop that will be a part of the International Symposium to be held in November 2006. The Working Group of the Symposium originally planned to invite plans for the Workshop from young researchers including COE researchers and graduate students belonging to ASAFAS and/or CSEAS, and to adopt five or so from among them. But as it turns out, there were nine proposals -- nearly double the number expected -- and the Working Group decided to accept all of them. The aim of the Satellite Workshop is to create a forum where young researchers can present the outcomes of their on-site research and education conducted under the 21st Century COE Program and hold lively discussions. Given this purpose, it is desirable for us to plan and hold many such workshops. The discussion at the Meeting centered on the fact that there are several practical tasks to be solved: e.g., how to use the limited budget efficiently and how to hold as many workshops as possible within the limited time. We will continue to report on the progress of preparations for the International Symposium and the Satellite Workshop to be held in November in What’s New from the Secretariat.

Associate Prof. MIZUNO Kazuharu, the head of the Public Relations Section, presented a plan to update the Website. In the near future, the page introducing publications related to the COE Program will be enhanced and a new page for “comparative area studies” will be created.

As agenda items, the proposed FY2006 budget was presented by the Secretariat for discussion, and was approved. The draft budget is based on the semi-formal decision on budget allocation for FY2006, which was much smaller than expected, and our policy for the draft budget formulation decided at the last Executive Committee meeting, i.e., prioritizing the Symposium and related workshops as well as expenses for the publication of research outcomes. Discussions were also held on the details of a special issue of the Asian and African Area Studies, in which approximately 20 papers written by graduate students and COE researchers will be collected, as indicated in last month’s What’s New from the Secretariat. Prof. SUGISHIMA Takashi, the editor-in-chief of Asian and African Area Studies, made a proposal regarding the selection of authors, editorial policy, referee system, deadline of manuscripts, date of publication, etc., based on the decision made at the editorial board meeting held on February 21. It was agreed that members of the editorial board and supervisors would jointly carry out the editorial work for the special issue. (Sugishima)

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