What's New from the Secretariat July

The 40th consecutive meeting of the Executive Committee was held on July 18. It began with a report by Prof. ICHIKAWA Mitsuo on the use of the budget so far. Following this, the members were shown a copy of the book, Mamo Hebo, 2006, Land, Local Custom and State Policies: Land Tenure, Land Disputes and Disputes Settlement among the Arsii Oromo of Southern Ethiopia (Kyoto: Shoukadoh), which was recently published with assistance from the 21st Century COE Program. The book is based on the graduate (Ph. D.) dissertation of Mamo Hebo, which was submitted to ASAFAS in 2004. In it, he adopts a historical perspective to describe a complicated situation in which the land system and land disputes have become entangled with state policies in the rural area of southern Ethiopia that is home to the Arsii Oromo.

Following this, Research Associate TAKADA Akira gave an update on preparations for the Kyoto Symposium, which is to be held from November 9-13, on the theme of “Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries and Re-visioning Area Studies: Perspectives from Asia and Africa.” A website for the Symposium was opened on April 13 (http://areainfo.asafas.kyoto-u.ac.jp/kyotosympo/index.html), and it will soon contain a detailed program including the presenters, presentation titles, and presentation times for the main panel and satellite workshop. We will soon install a CGI script that will allow for online registration, and will begin the registration process. Please use the online registration form if you would like to register to attend.

As was introduced in the December 2005 issue of What’s New from the Secretariat, in November of this year the Kyoto University International Symposium, under the theme of “The Quest for Harmonious Co-existence in the Planetary Community,” will be held in Bangkok with the participation of eight of the 23 21st Century COE Programs based at Kyoto University, including ASAFAS. There was a report at this month’s meeting on the state of preparations, and there was some discussion on the selection and number of participants to be sent by ASAFAS and CSEAS.

Next, there was an announcement from Prof. ICHIKAWA that the educational program “Nurturing applied area studies researchers through on-site education and research,” which ASAFAS applied for as part of the FY2006 Initiative for “Attractive Education in Graduate Schools,” was accepted. The Initiative for “Attractive Education in Graduate Schools” is a project of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, which has been implemented since FY2005 with the aim of enhancing the capacity of graduate schools to nurture young researchers with great creativity who can respond to the needs of contemporary society. The goals are thus different from the 21st Century COE Program, which aspires to create centers that are at the top level internationally, and there has been occasional discussion in the Executive Committee meetings on how to link the outcomes of the two together, while carrying them out independently. (Sugishima)

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