The 42nd Executive Committee meeting was held one week behind the regular schedule, on October 26. It began with an explanation of the state of budget execution, as well as news that an application for additional budget had been filed in response to the announcement by Education and Research Development Office of Kyoto University on October 10. Applications can be made for an additional budget of 2%-5% of the original budget, and the initial request was for a sum of 5%, to be used for the publication of outcomes of the workshops, etc. We will receive the answer at the end of this month, and the additional sum will be deposited in January next year, along with the budget for the fourth quarter of this fiscal year. It will be a nice gift in the final fiscal year of the program, when expenses are piling up.
Next, there was a report from the Network Section (of the Area-Info Division) on the workshop entitled “Inter-networking in area studies: results and foresights,” that was held on September 29. The workshop included presentations of the Network Section’s outcomes up to now, including the use of GIS for area studies and the use of networks for the sharing of data, as well as a vigorous discussion. Videoconferencing was used to link the workshop forum with the Bangkok office of CSEAS. This was partly a rehearsal for the videoconference scheduled to be used during the Kyoto Symposium in November, and to examine technical issues such as communication problems and the use of cameras and monitors.
It is now less than two weeks from the date of the Kyoto Symposium, and Dr. TAKADA Akira of the working group gave a report on preparations, including the budget use and operation of the secretariat on the day of the symposium, plans for invitations, and for publicity of the event through the website and press clubs. Thanks to the great efforts of the working group, proceedings made up of a total of 600 pages will be ready by the week before the symposium.
From the Public Relations Section, there was an explanation of updating and future plans for the website. It was proposed that at the end of the program, the contents of the website be made into a DVD, and that this DVD be appended to the final report of the program. In relation to this, it was mentioned that the program’s website has a solid reputation at the National Diet Library, and we were encouraged to hear that it has even been archived.
The final report of the meeting concerned the program that has been designed as the successor to the COE, namely the “Global COE Program.”
As agenda items, first it was explained that in response to a request from the Education and Research Development Office to undergo external reviews for the purpose of selecting candidates for the next “Global COE Program,” we have asked a panel of nine leading researchers, four from Japan and five from abroad, to carry it out, and the budget has been approved.
In addition, confirmation was given to the decision on the dispatch of students and others in the second half of FY2006. The number of students was reduced from the original plan to three. Consequently, a discussion was held on the reallocation of the budget due to the resulting decrease in funding needs, along with other changes. It was decided that budget would be reallocated to requests made by other sections, including printing costs for the papers to be presented at the workshops. Based on expectations that at least some additional budget will be forthcoming, the amount of budget to be reallocated was slightly more than the original budget.
Finally, opinions were exchanged on how to continue the activities of the current 21st Century COE after the end of the program. A proposal was made to continue issuing the monthly e-Newsletter as a project of ASAFAS, and to consider what to do with the field stations in the future, based on the reports from each of them. It was confirmed that work and full-fledged discussion on these matters would begin after the Kyoto Symposium in November.(Ichikawa)