Aloha and Hola! IAFOR goes to Hawaii and Barcelona!

In January 2016, IAFOR holds its first conference series in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. The IAFOR International Conference on Education (IICEHawaii) and The IAFOR International Conference on Sustainability, Energy & the Environment (IICSEEHawaii) are organised in partnership with the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. In this interdisciplinary conference – one of a series of five held in 2016 on the theme of “Education and Social Justice” – participants were invited to explore and question the ways in which education can influence global trends and develop local solutions for social justice and diversity.

In July 2016, IAFOR holds its first conferences in Barcelona, Spain, in partnership with the University of Barcelona. The IAFOR International Conference on the City (CITY) and The IAFOR International Conference on the Global Studies (GLOBAL) brought together 88 delegates to consider some of the following questions: How have cities taken on their different shapes – residencies, commercial quarters, waves of settlement and expansion? Why have they taken on specific locations – riverside geographies, trade routes, fortification, population flows, religion, food, migration? How has their siting played into history, politics and culture? Keynote and Featured Speakers included renowned critic and theorist Professor Bill Ashcroft of the University of NSW, Australia, a founding exponent of post-colonial theory and co-author of The Empire Writes Back, the first text to systematically examine the field of post-colonial studies, and Alonso Carnicer, an award–winning News Reporter for TV3 in Spain, who spoke about Barcelona’s shanty towns, among others.

In Barcelona, our paired conference themes for 2016, “The City: Site and History” and “The Global and The Local: Crossing Sites of Cultural, Critical, & Political Intervention”, generated an exciting interdisciplinary response from scholars and practitioners in the arts, humanities and social sciences, from artists and writers to urban planners, designers and futurists.

IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies

In January 2016, the IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies is first published.

The IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies solicits scholarship in the broad areas of culture, social development, the arts, digital communities, philosophy and similar. While much of the journal's focus rests on Asia, it encourages contributions from all across the globe, thereby establishing links between intercultural and transcultural phenomena and analysing them. Asia is a continent constantly evolving within a restive world and it is the aim of this journal to provide challenging and incisive commentary to accompany this process.

The IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies is envisaged as an open space for developing topics, threads and nodes of cultural understanding. The journal recognises that cultural studies is necessarily hybrid in nature and that even the establishment of common research fields (itself a highly contested exercise) will do little to discipline it. This, however, does not relieve cultural studies of the necessary reflection upon its own histories and present status quo. It is hoped that some of these discussions will take place in the virtual pages of this journal and that those theoretical interventions stimulate and interact with further research. As cultures are becoming increasingly mediated, ample space will be provided for those interventions highlighting the relationship between (media) technology and culture.

IAFOR's Online Magazine, THINK, is Launched

THINK, The Academic Platform, is IAFOR’s online magazine, publishing the latest in interdisciplinary research and ideas from some of the world’s foremost academics, many of whom have presented at IAFOR conferences. Content is varied in both subject and form, with everything from full research papers to shorter opinion pieces and interviews. THINK gives academics the opportunity to step outside of the traditional research publishing status quo – to get creative, explore different disciplines and to have their ideas heard, shared and discussed by a diverse, global audience.

THINK was conceived by academics, for academics, with the following objectives:

  • To provide an international, far-reaching platform for the best research presented at IAFOR conferences
  • To make original, high-quality, thought-provoking multimedia content freely accessible to a wide readership
  • To facilitate the opportunity for academics to step outside of the traditional research publishing status quo – to get creative, explore different disciplines and to have their ideas heard, shared and discussed by a diverse, global audience.

The Reverend Professor Stuart D. B. Picken (1942–2016)

On Friday, August 5, 2016, Professor Stuart D. B. Picken, passed away after battling cancer for several years.

Stuart Picken was born in Glasgow in 1942 and enjoyed an international reputation in philosophy, comparative religious and cultural studies, but it is as a scholar of Japan and Japanese thought for which he will be best remembered, and as one of the world’s foremost experts on Shinto.

Whether in his research or teaching, Professor Picken devoted much of his life to increasing understanding between his adopted country and the West, and in 2007 he was recognised with the Order of the Sacred Treasure, an imperial decoration for his pioneering research and outstanding contribution to the promotion of friendship and mutual understanding between Japan and the UK. He also served as the International Adviser to the High Priest of the Tsubaki Grand Shrine, one of Japan’s largest and oldest shrines.

From 2009, Professor Picken was the Founding Chairman of The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) where he was highly active in helping nurture and mentor a new generation of academics, and facilitating better intercultural and international awareness and understanding. In the years immediately preceding his illness, he continued to lecture throughout the world, in Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East.

Following his passing, the organisation was restructured at this time, with Dr Joseph Haldane assuming the role of Chairman and CEO, and Professor Steve Cornwell being appointed as President of IAFOR, and Chairman of the International Academic Advisory Board.

The International Advisory Board is renamed the International Academic Advisory Board and divided into three academic divisions, at the head of which is an academic chair who also serves as a Vice-President of the organisation and who sits on the Executive Committee.

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