"Asia at the Crossroads: Solidarity through Scholarship"
August 31 – September 02, 2020 | The Kobe International Convention Center, Kobe, Japan
Late last year, in the context of political unrest and mass protests in Hong Kong, the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) decided, in consultation with partners at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), to move its annual Asia conference from Hong Kong to Kobe, Japan. In Japan, the Association will co-host with The International Academic Forum (IAFOR), and in partnership with three national universities in the Kansai area, Kobe, Osaka, and Kyoto Universities.
The theme of the conference selected by the previous organizing committee was “Asia at the Crossroads,” in large part in reference to Hong Kong as sitting at the crossroads of Asia, with its unique historical, cultural, and geopolitical place in the world. The new organizing committee, following discussions with CUHK, has decided to keep this theme because it underlines the extraordinary circumstances that led to the moving of the conference on the one hand, while emphasizing the unique nature of this new partnership with Japanese institutions on the other. Both reflect the reality that Asia is, indeed, at a crossroads.
The current social and political landscape in Asia only goes to demonstrate how timely the theme is. Individuals as well as political entities in Asia are grappling with existential questions of modernity, such as identity, diversity, and freedoms. The direction of Asia’s present and future has never appeared less certain, as rising authoritarianism, nationalism, and ethnic divisions increasingly threaten open society that allows universities and academic institutions to flourish.
To this end, the AAS is grateful to The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) and Kobe, Osaka, and Kyoto Universities, who in the spirit of scholarship solidarity provide us with an alternative venue at the heart of the most historically, culturally and academically vibrant region of Japan. This conference is an opportunity to underline our commitment to the academic freedoms that sustain the great universities in Asia. In the spirit of solidarity through scholarship, we seek to highlight the continuing relevance and importance of such cooperation in providing necessary intellectual and physical spaces for the meaningful and free exchange of ideas, in an atmosphere that nurtures, encourages, and protects great scholarship.
We look forward to seeing you in Japan.
Co-chair: Joseph Haldane (Osaka University), Chairman and CEO, IAFOR
Co-chair: Christine R. Yano (University of Hawaii), Vice President, AAS
On behalf of the AAS-in-Asia 2020 Organising Committee