What's New from the Secretariat May

The second Executive Committee of this fiscal year was held on May 18, a rainy day that made it seem as if the rainy season was upon us. First, a report was given by Professor SUGISHIMA Takashi, who is the editor-in-chief of Asian and African Area Studies, as well as the Secretary General of the Program, on the plan, as one outcome of the Program, to publish a collection of papers written by graduate students. A call was made for article proposals, and the number of applications received far exceeded expectations (33 people). The Publications Committee has already selected tentative referee candidates, and the following schedule was confirmed: following the deadline for submissions (end of July), the papers will go through a referee process (end of August) and the issue will be published (March next year). We will undoubtedly encounter many obstacles before the publication, but this collection of papers has been positioned as an important outcome of the Program, and we plan to work actively toward its achievement.

Following this, a report was given by Professor KIMURA Daiji of the Network Section, on a workshop planned as a summary of activities to date, under the title of “Outcomes and Prospects of Informatics and Network-building in Area Studies.” At the workshop, which is scheduled to be held on Friday, September 29, presentations will be given on activities implemented by the program, such as area studies information databases and databases on traditional uses and knowledge of plants, as well as displays of the databases and video conferences in separate room.

With regard to the International Symposium scheduled for November, there was a report on the state of preparations by Professor OHTA Itaru and Dr. TAKADA Akira from the Working Group. They explained that 32 applications had been made for the poster session presentations by the deadline at the beginning of this month, and that with the addition of presentations introducing the activities of FSs, there would be more than the 40 originally planned. They also reported that the deadline for the abstracts would be the end of July, and for the Proceedings manuscripts the end of August. The English and Japanese language versions of the website for the symposium have been opened, and new information will be uploaded as it comes in.

From the Public Relations Section, Professor MIZUNO Kazuharu gave a report on updates to the website, and issued a call for reports of past fieldwork to be submitted immediately to the Section. Since our program does not publish any newsletter to report on our activities in paper form, and the website essentially plays that role, we should put increased efforts into strengthening it. In addition, Professor KOSUGI Yasushi from the Research Product Promotion Section invited applications for grants for publications this fiscal year.

Information was recently received from the Administration Bureau of Kyoto University on the “Post 21st Century COE Program.” We do not have details yet, but it appears that the application process may begin toward the end of this year. In anticipation, the university’s executive board will soon begin surveying the different sections of the university on their plans. It is certain that whatever the nature of the next program, being accepted will depend on the outcomes of this program, so we will need to make added efforts in the remaining time, and work to bring the program to a successful conclusion.

For agenda items, it was decided to hire ASAFAS graduate student NISHI Makoto beginning on August 1, to be a COE researcher charged with work related to the Ethiopia FS of the Africa Section. Then, with regard to students to be dispatched in the Africa Section in FY2006, a proposal was made to cut back the dispatch plan in view of the availability of other funding sources such as MEXT grants in aid for scientific research, and this change was accepted. Lastly, the members exchanged opinions on the formulation of the final report of the program, and decided a tentative composition and who would be charged with writing each chapter. (Ichikawa)

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