Asia’s Think Tank

The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) was conceived by Dr Joseph Haldane in early January 2009. At that time the Asia-Pacific region was beginning to emerge as a new and powerful centre of world events, to rival the traditional European-American hegemonic axis, and with different and conflicting nationalistic fears and domestic political interests often dictating negative foreign policies. IAFOR was founded as “Asia’s Think Tank”, a politically independent non-partisan and non-profit interdisciplinary think tank, conference organiser and publisher dedicated to encouraging interdisciplinary discussion, facilitating intercultural awareness and promoting international exchange, principally through educational interaction and academic research.

The Asian Conference on Education (ACE)

In October 2009, IAFOR held its first conference, The Asian Conference on Education (ACE) in Osaka, Japan. ACE2009 attracted over 400 delegates from more than 37 different countries, underlining the appetite for international, intercultural and interdisciplinary fora for research and discussion. At this meeting, under the theme of “Global Problems, Local Solutions”, globalisation in its many forms was discussed, as well as the emerging technological and interdisciplinary intellectual possibilities offered by the coming era of big data, and the prospects and possibilities for research projects and initiatives outside of the more traditional confines of university structures.

Founded in Japan at a time when academic conferences held in English did not exist (outside those organised by professional associations dedicated to English language teaching), IAFOR quickly found support for these among a growing number of scholars in Japan, Asia, and beyond. Participants came together to make friends, network, and, at a time of rapid globalisation and technological advances, explore the latest ideas. The conferences also encouraged the search for research synergies in the pursuit of addressing and finding solutions to many of the myriad and complex challenges presented by the modern world.

At the initial meeting, invited speakers include the eminent cleric and philosopher, The Reverend Professor Stuart D. B. Picken, who is asked by Dr Joseph Haldane to help form and chair an International Advisory Board. Other speakers at ACE2009 included future International Advisory Board members, Professor Sue Jackson, Pro-Vice Master (Vice President) of Teaching and Learning at Birkbeck, University of London; NBC Emmy award-winning producer, Professor Gary Swanson; Eri Kudo of the World Food Program; Professor Tien-Hui Chiang of the National University of Tainan; Professor Michiko Nakano of Waseda University; Professor Kensaku Yoshida of Sophia University; and Professor Steve Cornwell of Osaka Jogakuin University, who would go on to become President of IAFOR in 2017.

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