What's New from the Secretariat March

The 47th and final Executive Committee meeting of the Program was held on March 22. First, with regard to the state of budget execution, it was reported that the planned projects had gone very smoothly and that excluding some of the personnel costs, everything would be executed within the fiscal year. The fact that a budget amounting to roughly 100 million yen was appropriately executed in each year of the Program was thanks primarily to the efforts of the staff of the Secretariat, and I would like to express my appreciation particularly to Prof. IKENO Jun, who paid careful attention to the overall accounting from budget planning to execution.

The next report concerned the symposium entitled “Frontiers of Area Studies: Creation of Wisdom,” which was held on March 2 in Tokyo, organized by the Area Studies Committee of the Science Council of Japan. Its aim was to present an outline of the activities and outcomes of the seven selected 21st Century COE Programs related to area studies. From our Program, I myself gave a presentation entitled “The Formation of an Integrated Research and Education Center Related to Asia and Africa.” Poster presentations and program-related publications were also displayed. In addition, we put on display a beta version of the DVD containing a compilation of the information from our Website. It was received quite well, and many people seem to have been interested in getting a copy.

During this meeting, many reports were given on the publication of Program outcomes. First, Prof. SUGISHIMA Takashi, the editor-in-chief of Asian and African Area Studies, the journal of the Kyoto University Graduate School of Asian and African Studies, reported that a collection of research papers by graduate students and young researchers, a major achievement of the Program, would be published as a full issue of the journal within the fiscal year. In addition, several other collections of papers related to Field Stations in Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia and southern Africa, and Laos (four volumes) will also be published within the fiscal year. Of these, the collection on Laos will be published in Lao (the local language), and the other three in English. The publication of Program outcomes seems to have accelerated in the final year, but it is typical for this kind of publication to take time, and it is suspected that such publications will continue for some time after the Program ends. It is regrettable that there are no guaranteed budgetary measures for such projects.

From the Network Section, a proposal was made to transfer the server function of AreaInfo, which has supported the public relations activities of the Program, to the host computer of the University’s Administrative Bureau. It was agreed that we would make a request to the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies for the financial resources necessary for the expenses to transfer and maintain the server during the transfer period. Based on a request from the Library Section, several pending issues were discussed, including the management of books and materials purchased by the Program, but these were outside of the sole purview of the Executive Committee, and it was decided to ask the Library Committee of ASAFAS to continue to discuss this matter.

Finally, there was a report on the state of progress of the Final Report of the Program, and views were exchanged on the drafting work for the ex-post evaluation report. In accordance with the policy adopted at the outset, we have used the Website for the publicity concerning the state of activities and outcomes of the Program. The Final Report, however, will be the program’s first and last printed document, and it will present a whole picture of the Program. Thanks to vigorous efforts at the end of the fiscal year, it appears that we will manage to publish it within the fiscal year. The DVD containing the information stored on the Website of the Program has been completed. The Report will be released as a set including the DVD. In addition, we need to draft an activity outcome report for the ex-post evaluation. Since the deadline for this report is the end of May, it was decided that the main work on this would be carried out by the current Executive Committee members and the Secretariat.

This was the last of the Executive Committee meetings, which were held on a total of 47 occasions. Including the preparation period, the Program has been going on for five years. The fact that we were able to carry out the Program so smoothly is due in great part to Prof. Emeritus KATO Tsuyoshi, the former Program leader, who established the sound executive system at the beginning. The energetic activities of the all people involved, e.g., the members of the Executive Committee, staff responsible for each division and section, the participating research members, and graduate students and young researchers who were the principal players of the Program, were the driving power of the Program. There is no doubt that nothing could have been done without the cooperation, behind the scenes, of part-time staff members who have supported and sometimes managed the work of the Secretariat, the Public Relations Section and Library Section. At the conclusion of the Program, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all these people, and express my wish for the further development of integrated area studies in Kyoto.(Ichikawa)

Back Number >>