Interim Progress Report of the Program
(FY2002 - FY2003)
 I. Outline of the Program / II. Progress of the Program in FY2002 and FY2003 /
 III. Records of Activities / IV. Conclusion
 I. Outline of the Program

1. Objectives and characteristics of the program
Building upon Kyoto University’s long academic heritage of field research in Asia and Africa, this program aims to carry out cutting-edge area studies, and by effectively integrating post-graduate education to establish a world-leading center of excellence of integrated area studies. With globalization, the points of contact between local communities and global society are becoming more extensive and diverse, often leading to conflicts between the “global” and “local,” as seen in environmental problems and North-South issues. Although these problems of the contemporary world are in most cases complex issues involving an entangled relationship between human society and nature, they have long been addressed separately through the social sciences and natural sciences. Given this situation, in order to work out a direction for the development of a truly sustainable global community and to conceive a new world order which allows coexistence between people and nature as well as coexistence of different areas of the world, we must promote a transdisciplinary approach which incorporates the perspectives of the social sciences and natural sciences, applying them to the “area,” the historically-constituted juncture between ecology, society and culture, and establish a center of research and education for this purpose.
          Some of the leading world institutions in area studies are the British SOAS, in London, and the Dutch CNWS, in Leiden, but while their approach is mainly in the fields of humanities and social sciences such as history, political science, economics, sociology, and anthropology, very few adopt our approach, a transdisciplinary approach of social and natural sciences, promoting IAS (Integrated Area Studies), including “comparative area studies.” In addition to the adoption of this new approach, our program is unique in that, while placing a priority on fieldwork, we aim to achieve an integration between basic research and practical interests, and between advanced research and on-site education.

2. Expected outcomes of the program
Based on field stations (FSs) in the Asian and African regions, the program aims to promote Integrated Area Studies with the following pillars: a transdisciplinary approach of the social and natural sciences, integration of on-site education and field research, fusion of basic research and practical interests, and comparative studies linking the Asian and African regions. Under the shared research theme of “Human-Nature Coexistence in a Glocalizing World,” it aims to create new “knowledge” on “areas.” At the same time, a Center for Integrated Area Studies (formerly “Area Studies Information Center”) will be established to support our activities, with the functions to gather, process and transmit multidimensional information on area studies, and to form networks with research institutions involved in area studies both within Japan and abroad. By integrating the functions of the FSs and the Center for Integrated Area Studies, we aim to build a leading global network for area studies.
          The United States, which was long the world’s leader in area studies, is scaling back such activities as a result of changes in its national strategy. As a result, there is an important need for the formation of a COE for area studies in Asia, which will facilitate the creation of networks for both research and education. In addition, many institutions for area studies both in Japan and abroad focus mainly on the humanities and social sciences, and there is insufficient focus on a transdisciplinary approach that would allow for an overall grasp of areas. Beginning with the promotion of the transdisciplinary approach and integration of research and on-site education in area studies, this program is expected to train specialists who can, with a deep understanding of local contexts, respond flexibly to various issues such as development assistance, nature conservation, and ethnic conflicts faced by Asian and African countries, and to contribute these research findings back to society.

 II. Progress of the Program in FY2002 and FY2003

1. State of the program’s progress
This program has so far gone forward along the following three lines: (1) Establishment of the FSs (field stations) and development of the integration of on-site-education and research activities at the FSs; (2) The preparation for the establishment of the “Center for Integrated Area Studies,” where multidimensional information can be organized and circulated to support on-site-education and research activities (to be established in 2004); and (3) An integration of the resources and activities in (1) and (2) under the common research theme of “Human-Nature Coexistence in a Glocalizing World,” and research and education on four problem areas in line with the common theme. The work under (1) and (2) is described below. For (3), refer to III, Records of Activities.

(1) Field Station Division
          With regard to the FSs, during the last two years, a total of 27 faculty members, 52 graduate students, and 3 COE researchers have been dispatched to Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Egypt, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Zambia, and Kenya. Thanks to their efforts, 14 FSs have been set up and organized based on Memorandums of Understanding at sites where various projects have already been carried out by the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies (ASAFAS) and Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS). The FSs have promoted transdisciplinary research under the common theme, as well as on-site education for graduate students. Also, using the FSs, we have developed multi-lateral and multi-centered educational and research networks with local institutions in the areas concerned, held joint research and workshops, and collected publications and government documents in the local languages.
          In FY2003, we held a joint workshop in Ethiopia with the Addis Ababa University, with the goal of promoting comparative area studies, under the title of “Environment, Livelihood and Local Praxis in Asia and Africa,” and the results of FS activities were presented there. Through the holding of seminars such as one on the conservation of rainforests in Cameroon (jointly with WWF, GTZ, MINEF), and an on-site workshop in Indonesia titled “The Micrology of Indonesian Local Societies,” we are endeavoring to make use of the FSs to promote joint research and publicize their findings.
          Through these activities, using the FSs in the Asian and African regions as a base, we will for the first time in Japan create an academic environment that can promote the integration of field research and on-site education. Researchers in Japan, unlike their counterparts in Europe, do not have easy access to a large corpus of historical documents collected on Asia and Africa during the colonial period. For them to be able to take a leading role in international work in area studies, fieldwork, which allows the collection of primary and contemporary sources and the accumulation of in-situ experiences, is the most important and effective method; the integration of on-site-education and research based at the FSs will provide a framework that makes this possible.

(2)Area Info Division
          In the field of area information, the Center for Integrated Area Studies is being founded in order to support research and on-site-education at the FSs and to function as a center for information and networks for area studies domestically and internationally. As concrete achievements up to date in the area of information networks, a server has been set up that is to serve as the node for multiple communication modules in Area Info, and hardware has been installed to allow better communication among the field stations, researchers and students on and off the campus of Kyoto University. In terms of the collection of research materials, 7,500 books, 1,500 microfiches, and 600 microfilm reels have been purchased. We have also started the digitalization of existing materials in area studies and the development of a database system.
          Rather than publicizing the program’s activities through printed materials, a Website was launched on April 21, 2003 to release in real time the reports of activities of the 21st Century COE program. In October, one year ahead of the original schedule, a monthly eNewsletter in Japanese titled “Integrated Area Studies INFOrmation Magazine (IAS-INFO)” was launched with the purpose of fostering information exchanges and closer relationships among those researchers interested in area studies; as of February 2004 it has been issued six times already. A meta database system was also developed for the comprehensive accumulation, sorting and dissemination of multidimensional research materials and information in area studies. Through these activities, preparations are moving steadily forward to the building of Asia’s largest information and network hub.
          The program has set a common research theme of “Human-Nature Coexistence in a Glocalizing World.” “Seminar groups” have been organized along the lines of the four problem areas of research under the common theme, and a framework has been set up to allow graduate students conducting fieldwork to participate effectively in activities related to these four problem areas. So far, a total of 50 symposiums and seminars in Japan, and four workshops and seminars overseas have been organized, led by the participating members of the program. In the future, we plan to promote closer linkages between fieldwork and workshop activities so that fresh results from fieldwork can be made available to a wider audience through academic meetings both at home and abroad.

2. Future developments
Currently, fieldwork and on-site education are being carried out at 14 FSs in the Asian and African regions. In the future, we intend to selectively reduce the number of FSs based on the contents of activities and past performance, and concentrate the limited resources of the program on the selected FSs. The activities and outcomes of this program will be released mainly through the Website, and by issuing the eNewsletter, “IAS-INFOM,” the creation of web-based information networks will be promoted. The Center for Integrated Area Studies (Area Info), to be established in FY2004, is being built to become a hub for information and networking in Asian and African area studies. The Center will serve as the core of the Kyoto University Area Studies Network, which is to incorporate departments and researchers involved in Asian and African studies within Kyoto University, with the aim ultimately to be the core of the Global Network for Area Studies, to be launched to link research institutions involved in area studies both in Japan and abroad.
          Through the above-listed activities, as a base for fieldwork and for information and networking, we will endeavor to build the largest center for area studies in Asia, and to train and foster leading researchers of area studies. Another goal will be to clarify the nature of various pressing issues in Asia and Africa, such as nature conservation, development issues, ethnic conflicts, and the preservation of minority cultures. Based on an in-depth understanding of the relevant areas, and with the aim of giving research findings back to the local communities concerned, we are searching for solutions to these pressing issues. We will also contribute to promoting understanding of Asia and Africa among the general public by providing information through electronic journals and Area Info Room, which will be set up inside the Center for Integrated Area Studies.

 III. Records of Activities

1. Holding of International Workshops

(1) Title: Joint Workshop “Environment, Livelihood and Local Praxis in Asia and Africa”
  Date: October 20-30, 2003
  Venue: Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
  Number of participants: 80 (30 from Japan, 50 from other countries)
Reports were given by graduate students both in the program and from Addis Ababa University.
  Main invited speakers: Dr. Bekele Getama, Dr. Assefa Tolera, and Dr. Ayalew Gebre, all from Addis Ababa University
(2) Title: On-site joint seminar “Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Rain Forest”
  Date: December 10, 2003
  Venue: WWF office, Yokadouma, Cameroon
  Number of participants: 30 (3 Japanese graduate students, 1 Japanese lecturer from Kyoto University, officers of WWF-Cameroon, officers of the Ministry of Environment and Forestation of Cameroon, staff members of the German aid organization GTZ, local NGO workers, clergy, etc.)
Two Japanese graduate students were among those giving reports.
  Invited speakers: None
(3) Title: Laos Field Station Workshop “Forest Management and Conservation in Laos”
Co-organized by 21st-COE program and RIHN (Research Institute for Humanity and Nature)
  Date: January 25, 2004
  Venue: ASAFAS, Kyoto University
  Number of participants: 30 (22 from Japan)
  Main invited speakers: Dr. Houngphet Chanthavong and Dr. Khamleck Xaydala (both from the National University of Laos)
(4) Title: Workshop “The Micrology of Indonesian Local Societies”
  Date: March 23, 2004
  Venue: Jakarta, Indonesia
  Number of participants: 90 (10 from Japan)
  Invited speakers: None
(5) Title: Workshop “Change of Rural Society and Local Agro-Ecological Knowledge in Myanmar”
  Date: March 16-17, 2004
  Venue: SEAMEO-CHAT, Myanmar
  Number of participants: 50 (25 from Japan)
  Invited speakers: None

2. Achievements in educational activities

(1) Dispatch of graduate students and on-site education
          Selected graduate students from ASAFAS, after completing their pre-doctoral thesis (equivalent to a M.A. thesis) were dispatched to the FSs set up in Asia and Africa for on-site education. Participants were recruited from within ASAFAS, and the selection was made based on applications using a designated form. A monthly allowance in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 yen was provided for traveling and lodging expenses, in accordance with the costs of living in the area. Over the last two years, a total of 52 students have been dispatched to field stations in the Asian and African regions (See the Website for details).
          In addition, a total of 27 faculty members have been dispatched for on-site education. However, this is not the whole picture of on-site education, since many faculty members who go abroad using Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research from MEXT (Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sciences and Sport) take time to provide on-site education, and hence not all on-site education is provided with support from the program.

(2) Dispatch of COE researchers
          People who have completed their Ph.D as well as young researchers with equivalent qualifications were recruited publicly from within and outside of Kyoto University, to work mainly as assistants for the field research and on-site education at the FSs. They were provided with traveling expense and a monthly fee of approximately 200,000 yen. Due to budget cuts, greater emphasis was placed on the dispatch of graduate students than COE researchers, and only three researchers have been dispatched so far. One of them, who was in the field for an extended period, presented a report which is available on our Website (in Japanese), on the page of Myanmar FS.

(3) Recruiting a COE researcher for the Area Info Division
          One postdoctoral researcher was recruited to support the development of the Center for Integrated Area Studies, in a capacity as a creator of area studies-related databases and meta-database. A salary equivalent to assistant status has been provided to this researcher.

(4) International workshops and seminars under the initiative of COE researchers and graduate students
          For the participants of the international workshop held in Ethiopia in October 2003, an allowance of between 100,000 and 200,000 yen was provided to partially cover travel and lodging expenses. The recipients of the allowance were recruited from within ASAFAS and screened based on past achievements and titles of their proposed reports to the workshop.

          As stated above, we have been promoting the integration of field research and on-site education through the establishment of FSs in Asia and Africa. As a fruit of these activities, 11 students have been granted (or are scheduled to be granted) Ph.Ds during the last two years (2 in FY2002, and 9 in FY2003).

 IV. Conclusion

The emphasis of this program is placed on the participation of graduate students; a total of 52 graduate students, together with 27 faculty members, have already been sent to FSs abroad for on-site education. In addition, three COE researchers have been publicly recruited to assist with the program. For the symposiums and workshops held in Japan and abroad, graduate students and the COE researchers are required to participate actively from the early stage of the planning to encourage them to become active in the international arena. Research outcomes related to the program but achieved under separate programs, such as the Grants-in Aid for Scientific Research of MEXT, are also fed back to society at large through means such as the Website and online Field Lecture Series open to the general public. In terms of feeding back to the public achievements made on a more specialized level, there will be publications such as Itaru Ota et al, eds., Nomads, Living on Africa’s Highlands (in Japanese) (Showado, March 2004), and Tsuyoshi Kato, ed., Changing Southeast Asian Societies: Ethnic, Religious and Cultural Dynamics (in Japanese) (Mekong, May 2004), among others.
          Thus, the initial objectives of the program have been steadily carried out, effectively involving COE researchers and graduate students in the program. Constant efforts are being made to use funds effectively and efficiently, through bottom-up budget compilation and reallocations based on mid-term inspections. A regular Executive Committee meeting consisting of the main participants of the program is held every month, and the minutes are distributed to other people involved in the program as a means to maintain good communication and coordination inside the organization. A summary of the executive committee meetings, “What’s New from the Secretariat,” is accessible on the Website. Efforts are being made to provide information in real-time: the reports of activities and research findings in the program are posted in detail both in Japanese and English on the Website, while the monthly eNewsletter provides information on updates to the site.