About Alliance


 Introduction  Cooperation and interaction  
 Scope of the Network  Diffusion and dissemination
 Scientific objectives  Database of conferences
 Past and Future Developments    Website
 New partners  Alliance regular news
 Activities  Secretariat
 Asia Update  

 

Introduction

The European Alliance for Asian Studies (Asia Alliance) is a co-operative framework of European institutes specializing in Asian Studies. The aim of the Asia Alliance, established in 1997, is to contribute to bringing together the fragmented forces in Europe on Asian Studies in order to establish scholarly excellence in central areas of research and expertise on Asia, to the benefit of the institutes' national research environments and the European community at large.

The instruments/activities that are chosen to reach the aims and objectives as formulated at the start of the Alliance, are applied in a flexible way so as to be able to meet the needs and the institutional character of the respective participating institutes, and to keep up with the (research) developments in Asia and Europe.

An important part of the work of the Alliance is to encourage closer scholarly contacts within Europe and beyond by sponsoring conferences and workshops. Collaborative research programmes are set up to stimulate academic mobility, to increase interaction between scholars studying Asia, and make it possible for the Alliance members to draw on high-level international expertise. It has been proven that long-term, co-operative research is an effective tool for promoting mutual interest and developing trust between partners.

The Annual Asia-Europe Workshop Series encourages academic researchers to submit proposals for the organization of workshops focusing on a variety of issues affecting both regions. The criteria of proposals are determined by considerations of interregional and multilateral importance and the applicants were requested to focus on contemporary topics concerning both Asia and Europe in a comparative perspective. Most importantly, the workshops have to be organized by an Asian partner and European partner, to stimulate dialogue between both regions.

 ASEFTogether with the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) in Singapore, the European Alliance for Asian Studies organises a yearly call for workshop proposals. The so-called Asia-Europe Workshop Series is a way to stimulate innovative research on contemporary topics of interregional and multilateral importance to both Asia and Europe. The workshops strengthen existing links and provide a platform to establish new links between scholars and institutions from various ASEM countries. Every year, six applicants are granted with a subsidy of max. € 12,500.

Scope of the Network
The European Alliance for Asian Studies is a co-operative framework of European institutes specializing in Asian Studies, consisting of the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden/Amsterdam; the Institute of Asian Affairs (IFA), Hamburg; the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS), Copenhagen; the European Institute for Asian Studies (EIAS), Brussels; Centre for International Studies and Research (CERI), Paris; the Centro de Estudios de Asia Oriental (CEAO, Centre for East Asian Studies), Madrid; the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, and the Swedish School of Advanced Asia-Pacific Studies (SSAAPS). The Alliance is not intended to merge the respective institutes, but to step up the momentum and interaction that has been growing between them and to provide a framework within which greater co-operation can occur. The Alliance implies the establishment of a coordinated framework for joint planning and for the pooling of resources in conducting various jointly organized projects.

In the new world order that has emerged during the past decade, Asia has become an important global partner for Europe. A more profound mutual understanding between the two continents is essential. Existing expertise on Asia in Europe has to be improved and optimized to meet Europe's as well as Asia's needs. In Europe, the required restructuring of Asian Studies can be achieved by combining the individual strengths and endeavours of the various existing institutes of Asian Studies. The Asia Alliance's open structure enables other European institutes to join.

Diffusion and dissemination
The Alliance recognizes that disseminating the results of research to a broader audience, including governments, the media and the general public is an integral part of the responsibilities of scientific institutions. The following instruments are used to ensure an optimal diffusion and dissemination of information on Alliance events, research results, publications and so on.

Scientific objectives
The scientific objectives of the Alliance are:

  1. building up high-quality, border-transcending research with a stronger focus on contemporary issues;
  2. creating sustainable networks with Asian and other research institutions and scholars;
  3. strengthening the links and communication between academic research on Asia and non-academic institutions and actors.

Past and Future Developments
After an initial period of six years, the Alliance now has developed into a longer?term relationship that provides a model for wider collaboration and integration at a European level. In practice the Alliance has proven to be beneficial. Apart from the numerous activities that are a direct result of the Alliance, the value of the existing regular and personal contacts, with short communication lines, should not be underestimated. Each institute rests upon different pools of knowledge, has different networks and caters from different target groups in society. In many ways these networks have proven to be complementary. The varieties of networks and contacts, expertise and experience have been used for a great number of activities (within and outside the scope of the Alliance) of the respective institutes. As a group of institutes the Alliance has 'added value': it has more effect and a greater impact than any of the participating institutes could have obtained by acting individually.

Database of conferences
The co-operation on internet between the Alliance partners has enjoyed a steady expansion since 1997. The Alliance has set up and maintains a database of conferences, workshops and seminars in the field of Asian Studies, which is presented on the Alliance website (www.asia-alliance.org) as 'Agenda Asia', an international conference agenda. Visitors can search the Agenda and subscribe to 'Agenda mail' in order to receive excerpts from Agenda Asia regularly by e-mail. Conference organizers are given the possibility to add their conference to the agenda.

New partners
Right from the beginning the so-called 'Nordic-Netherlands Strategic Alliance' envisaged that European parties would join in at a later stage. After having co-operated in several joint projects, such as the Programme for Europe-Asia Research Linkages (PEARL), the Institute of Asian Affairs (IFA) formally joined the Alliance at the end of 1998. In course of time a good working relation was also established with the European Institute for Asian Studies (EIAS) in Brussels and the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (Sciences-Po)/Centre for International Studies and Research (CERI) in Paris which resulted in the joining of both institutes in 2000 and 2001 respectively. Recently, the Centro de Estudios de Asia Oriental (CEAO, Spain) and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, UK) joined the Alliance.

Website
The Alliance website, www.asia-alliance.org, provides information on the activities of the Alliance and its partners through its linkages to the partners websites. Through the website the Alliance is able to speed up its connections with other research institutions on Asia and expand its networks even more. In addition, the Alliance has set-up an Asia-Europe Meeting Research Platform, which website has become fully operational since September 2003.

Activities
The Alliance supports short-term fellowships for research in Asian Studies, academic workshops and conferences and publications. Fellowships are especially intended to promote the kind of fruitful interaction between national research cultures, which usually develops only between relatively long-term members of an intellectual community. An important part of the work of the Alliance is to encourage closer scholarly contacts within Europe and beyond by sponsoring conferences and workshops. Collaborative research programmes are set up to stimulate academic mobility, to increase interaction between scholars studying Asia, and make it possible for the Alliance members to draw on high-level international expertise. It has been proven that long-term, co-operative research is an effective tool for promoting mutual interest and developing trust between partners. In general it is also the policy of the Alliance to stimulate researchers to publish their results in books, journals and on websites. The latest publication being the Special Issue 2002 of the Südostasien Aktuell entitled ASEM 2002: A Backgrounder.

Asia Update
Although the primary focus of the Alliance is on research at the cutting edge of knowledge, it recognizes that disseminating the results of research to a broader audience, including governments, the media, and the general public is an integral part of the responsibilities of scientific institutions. As a contribution to this role, the Alliance annually organizes at least one one?day information programme called 'Asia Update', in which several well-informed scholars present analyses of recent and current events in Asia to an interested audience.
For more details regarding previous and upcoming activties click here.

Secretariat
The Alliance's secretariat is run by the IIAS. The IIAS organizes meetings, publicity, the Alliance website, and financial matters. In addition, it has the task to explore the possible participation of new partners. The IIAS is also involved in the co-organization of many of the activities that take place under the flag of the Alliance.

Cooperation and interaction with other international and/or national programmes and organisations

It has been proven that long-term, co-operative research is an effective tool for promoting mutual interest and developing trust between partners. The aim is therefore to stimulate the development of long-term research programmes in co-operation with Asian and overseas scholars and institutions addressing broad issues and paying proper attention to both historical foundations and future developments in the global context. The Alliance for instance supports the research programme Changing Labour Relations in Asia (CLARA). The Alliance also stimulates research on Europe-Asia relations and especially research on the ASEM process, it has therefore established an A digital ASEM Research Platform (ARP), where Asian and European scholars could jointly carry out research on topics of common interest, an effective tool in encouraging a deeper rapprochement between the two regions. It is as well designed to inform the academia and civil society on the efforts of the ASEM meeting and the implications of the ASEM process. The ARP website has become fully operational since September 2002.

As a network covering nine EU countries (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, United Kingdom ), the Alliance facilitates access to European networks for scholars in the two Nordic countries Iceland and Norway - as well as the Baltic countries (Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania). For those countries in the EU, the Alliance gives a group of countries far greater clout on the committees and commissions that make European decisions than any of them would have as individual operators.

Alliance regular news
Regular information concerning the Alliance's activities has been spread through the newsletters of the participating Institutes and the regular Alliance page in the IIAS Newsletter (in the latest edition: SOAS in European Alliance). The institutes furthermore co-operate in the exchange of information.