What's New from the Secretariat March

The Executive Committee meeting was held on March 16, a rainy day, with fewer participants than usual because some members were on fieldwork trips outside of the country. The meeting began with a report that the budget execution plan of each division would be nearly completed on schedule. Approval was given to spend the remaining budget allocated to the Administrative Division to purchase a paper cutter to be used for bookbinding. Following this, there was a report on the submission of applications for the FY2006 grant as well as the departure of Professor YAMADA Isamu (due to retirement) and Assistant Professor Associate NAGATSU Kazufumi (who will move to another university) at the end of this fiscal year. The FY2006 budget will be extremely tight, as on top of a 10% cut from the FY2005 budget, we will have to spend funds for the International Symposium and Satellite Workshops to be held in the last fiscal year of the Program and to publish the collection of graduate students’ papers as outcomes of their research and final reports of the Program. There was a report from the Field Station Division that the recruitment of a COE researcher for Africa has begun. In addition, it was reported that Associate Professor ISHIKAWA Noboru of CSEAS will be appointed to be the new representative of the Malaysia Field Station in place of Dr.NAGATSU Kazufumi.

Each division and section introduced its plans for the last fiscal year of the Program. The Field Station Division is planning workshops at the overseas Field Stations as well as poster presentations on the activities of each Field Station at the International Symposium to be held in November. The Network Section of the Area Info Division reported its plans to hold a workshop on the theme of outcomes and the utilization of various databases, as well as the Geographical Information System (GIS), which have been built, and the development of the method of informatics for area studies. Professor OHTA Itaru, the chairperson of the Working Group for the International Symposium to be held in November, confirmed the event’s date, structure of each session, participants, and schedule. In addition, he made a proposal to change the tentative symposium title to “Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries and Re-visioning Areas Studies: Perspectives from Asia and Africa,” and the proposal was approved. In response to the invitation to graduate students and young researchers to submit plans for Satellite Workshops to be held along with the International Symposium, a total of nine proposals were received. Although it was wonderful to see graduate students being willing to participate so enthusiastically in the Workshop, the reality is that if we adopted all the proposals in a way they were planned, the Symposium would end up stretching out for seven days, creating a tremendous administrative burden. Following adjustments by the Working Group, it was decided that the time allotted for each workshop would be shortened and that the whole event, including the International Symposium, would be held over five days. For details, preparations have been made to upload information onto the Website in early April. We would like to make efforts with other staff members to enrich the Symposium and the Satellite Workshop, utilizing the enthusiasm of the graduate students.

As agenda items, discussions were held on a plan to dispatch students in FY2006. As the proposal to dispatch a total of 28 students was approved, the budget allocated for student dispatches has been substantially trimmed due to the budget cuts, as well as the fact that we are in the final fiscal year of the Program. Further discussion will be needed on how to complement the shortfall with other financial resources. There was also discussion of the recruitment plan for a COE researcher to be employed in the next fiscal year to take charge of the Ethiopia Field Station. The Program Leader made a request for each Division and Section to begin discussing ways of organizing and presenting data for preparations of reports in the final year of the Program. There was a proposal for reports to be written in Japanese, accompanied by English abstracts. Along with this proposal, it was decided that each Division would make a draft plan for the rough composition of the reports by June or July for discussion.(Ichikawa)

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