The Kyoto University ASEAN Center was established in 2014 to support and promote the university’s activities in the ASEAN region. In the six years since its establishment, the center has developed a significant presence in the ASEAN region. The first director of the center was Dr. Mamoru Shibayama, whom I succeeded in April 2019.
Historically, Southeast Asia has been a region in which diverse peoples have developed diverse cultures in the midst of the huge civilizations of China and India. Today, the global presence of Southeast Asia is rapidly increasing. Its population has grown from just under 430 million to over 660 million in the past 30 years, and its economic development has been remarkable, with a GDP of over two trillion dollars. The growth of its cities has also been remarkable, with megacities emerging in several countries, and remarkable progress in science and technology. On the other hand, perhaps as a byproduct of the rapid economic development, various problems have become prominent, such as the destruction of the natural environment, urban environmental pollution, large-scale disasters, and widening economic disparity. In addition, the region continues to be geopolitically influenced by superpowers, and faces many challenges in area of political diplomacy.
In the midst of these changing circumstances, Southeast Asia is becoming increasingly important to Japan. Not only is it important economically, for example as a market for food supplies, but it is also becoming increasingly important politically. From a geopolitical standpoint, we have much in common, and cooperation with the ASEAN region has become indispensable for Japan. Cooperation with the region is also essential in addressing a number of global issues.
Kyoto University has long pursued academic exchange with the ASEAN region, mainly through field research. In recent years, we have been promoting joint research in diverse fields, and have established several “on-site laboratories” in the region. We are also actively engaged in student exchange, including joint and double degree programs, sending and receiving degree-seeking international students, and long- and short-term exchange programs. The importance of the ASEAN hub for Kyoto University has significantly increased in recent years.
The mission of the ASEAN Center is to:
- Support academic exchange between Kyoto University and the ASEAN region, and promote the rapid development and expansion of joint research activities.
- Support educational activities in the ASEAN region, and promote student exchange.
- Support the internationalization of Kyoto University and the ASEAN region, and develop human resources who can contribute to solving various global issues.
- Strengthen support for graduates who are active in the ASEAN region, and form a network that will contribute to the future development of Kyoto University and ASEAN.
Through its activities, the Kyoto University ASEAN Center hopes to contribute to the ASEAN region’s generation of world-class academic achievements, and we hope that Kyoto University will forge an even closer bond with the region by forming networks and contributing to the cultivation of its next generation. All of us at the center are committed to achieving this goal. We sincerely ask for your support and cooperation in our endeavors.
Director of Kyoto University ASEAN Center