From March 8 (Fri) to 10 (Sun) 2013 at the Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao, Bangkok (Thailand) , the 1st Asia Future Conference was held with 322 participants from 20 countries. The general theme was “Asia in the World: Potentials for Regional Cooperation”, from which international and inter-disciplinary discussions were developed.
The conference was the result of more than two years of preparations as SGRA’s new project, and brought together former foreign students of Japan, and promising researchers with an interest on Japan, with the objective of providing a venue for discussing about the future of Asia.
From March 8th (Fri) 10 AM, the opening ceremony was performed solemnly. After Conference Chairman Yasushi Akashi proclaimed the opening of the conference, a welcome greeting was made by Rector Somkt Lertpaithoon on behalf of the main host Atsumi International Foundation and co-hosts Kita-Kyushu University and Thammasat University, followed by a congratulatory speech from the Japanese Ambassador to Thailand His Excellency Shigekazu Sato.
From 10:30 AM, the Keynote Speech was given by Kengo Kuma renowned architect not just in Japan but throughout the world on the theme “Age of Location” about an architecture that designs with a keen attention to place. While showing images of architectural creations, he fascinated an audience of 1200 as he spoke of an architecture that uses materials that could only be obtained from the place, employs craftsmen that deeply know the place, harmonizes with the climate and environment, and truly fulfills the needs of people.
In the afternoon and the following day, there were eight invited guest speeches and eight parallel sessions, wherein 219 papers were presented in 55 separate sessions in total. The invited speakers and their topics are as follows.
Guest Speech (Social Sciences)
Yasushi Akashi (former Under Secretary of the United Nations) “The Fragile Nature of Peace”
Larry Maramis (Director, ASEAN Secretariat Cross-Sectoral Cooperation)
Yang Dongliang (Professor, Nankai Univeristy) “Chu-Nichi Kankei no Kouzouteki Tenkan to Toumen no Kadai” (Structural Shifts of China-Japan Relations and Current Issues)
Lee Won Deog (Professor, Kookmin University) “Higashi Ajia Kyoudoutai no Genjou to Nikkan Kankei” (The Current Situation of the East Asia Community and Japan-Korea Relations)
Guest Speech (Humanities)
Ge Zhaoguang (Professor, Fudan University) “Naze Higashi Ajia na no ka, Toua no Aidenthiti wo Ika ni Kouchiku suru ka” (Why East Asia, How to Build the East Asia Identity)
Shin’ichi Yamamuro (Professor, Kyoto University) “Kuukan Ajia wo Umidasu Chikara – Kankyou wo Matagu Hitobito no Kouryuu” (The Force Created by Spatial Asia – The Exchange of People Straddling Environment)
Guest Speech (Natural Sciences)
Nakagami Hidetoshi (Head, Jukankyo Research Institute) “Promotions of Energy-Efficient Appliances by Using a Utility Bill-Payback Scheme in Vietnam”
Tan Hongwei (Professor, Tongji University) “From Green Campus to City Sustainable Development”
(Speeches with English titles were given in English, and those with Japanese titles were given in Japanese. With the exception of Prof. Ge whose speech was given in Chinese and translated to Japanese)
Prior to the holding of the conference, 146 papers submitted online by the December 31st deadline were screened for 22 best papers. The best papers will be published within the fiscal year 2013 as a compendium of the best papers for the Asia Future Conference. Moreover, one person was chosen from each of the 48 sessions and were each given a best presentation award. Three posters from the 15 posters were chosen to receive the best poster award. These awards were given during the awarding ceremony held in the cheerful atmosphere of the Farewell Party. For a list of the awardees, please see the link below.
List of Awardees
At 9 AM of March 10th (Sun), a round-table discussion was held on the theme “The Current Situation and Issues of Japan Studies in the Era of Globalization” After Prof. Min Wang of Hosei University gave an introduction, there were reports on the present situation and issues of Japan Studies in Thailand (Assoc. Prof. Warintorn Wuwongse, Thammasat University), Vietnam (Professor Nguyen Bich Ha, Hanoi Foreign Trade University), India (Assoc. Prof. Ranjana Mukhopadhyaya, Delhi University), South Korea (Vice Professor Ki Jeon Nam, Seoul National University), Taiwan (Prof. Shing-Ching Shyu, Taiwan University), and China (Director Xu Yiping, Beijing Center for Japanese Studies). After a break, Kyoto University Professor Shin’ichi Yamamuro and four designated discussants (Prof. Yong Wang, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Prof. Zhongchen Wang, Tsinghua University, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Humanities Research Institute Research Fellows Jinghua Zhao, and Bingyue Dong, Prof. Won Deog Lee, Kookmin University) gave very interesting comments.
For a more detailed conference program, please see the following link:
Other than the above academic program, participants enjoyed the welcome party held by the poolside, and excursions to Ayutthaya, Grand Palace, the Floating Market, etc.
The First Asia Conference was hosted by the Atsumi International Foundation, co-hosted with the Thammasat University and Kita-Kyushu University, supported by the Ministry of Education, the Japanese Embassy in Thailand, and three other institutions, funded by grants from the Japan Foundation and the Tokyo Club, with the cooperation of the Honjo International Scholarship Foundation, the Kamenori Foundation, and three other organizations, and sponsored by Air Nippon Airways, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Chugai Pharmaceutical Corporation and 14 other companies. The Honjo International Scholarship Foundation sent 40 participants. Kajima Thailand gave its full cooperation in Bangkok. The full list of institutions and firms can be seen from the link below:
Full List of Firms and Institutions
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the more than 300 participants, to those who supported the holding of the conference, to the volunteers who cooperated in many ways, for the success of the first Asia Future Conference.
Pictures of the First Asia Future Conference could be found at the link below:
Pictures of First Asia Future Conference
The Asia Future Conference is a new project that was planned on the occasion of the Atsumi International Foundation’s transition into a Public Interest Incorporated Foundation. Owing to the donation of the Asia 21 Scholarship Foundation, this will be a project that aims to hold this conference five times over a ten-year period. The 2nd Asia Future Conference will be held on August 22-24, 2014 at Bali, Indonesia. We look forward to everyone’s participation.
For details, please see the link below:
2nd Asia Future Conference
(Junko Imanishi, Managing Director Atsumi International Foundation/Chief Representative SGRA, translated by Max Maquito) Nihongo Version