Kaoru Sugihara

Global COE Programs
In Search of a Sustainable Humanosphere in Asia and Africa

Photo of SUGIHARA
Program Leader:
Prof. Kaoru SUGIHARA

 A major innovation of our program lies in its extraordinary combination of diverse disciplines. It is primarily a research and training program for area study specialists engaging in the fieldwork of local societies in Asia and Africa, in search of their long-term sustainability. In the light of growing awareness of the significance of ecological security, climate change and energy security, as well as their relevance to the poverty alleviation and welfare of local society, we have invited scientists working on the development of frontier technology to work with us, in order to broaden our perspective and understand the role that tropical Asian and African societies could play in the global context. We study various aspects of "humanosphere" (the living environment) from humanities, social sciences and area study perspectives, in combination with the latest knowledge on the "biosphere" and the "geosphere", provided by scientists, which underpin its sustainability.

 The Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) acts as the organizer institution. In 2002, the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies (ASAFAS) launched a 21st Century COE program, in collaboration with CSEAS, with the title "Aiming for COE of Integrated Area Studies: Establishing Field Stations in Asia and Africa, and Integrating Research Activities and On-Site-Education". By setting up a number of field stations, this program enabled students and researchers to work with local people and researchers on the spot and engage in fieldwork on a long-term basis. As a result, many doctoral theses have been successfully completed, and some outstanding research monographs have been published. The program ended in March 2007.

 Inheriting the system of education and training founded by the 21st Century COE program, this Global COE program aims to deepen the inter-disciplinary focus in area studies at Kyoto University, not only by mobilizing resources of area study institutions, CSEAS, ASAFAS, the Center for Integrated Area Studies, the Center for African Area Studies and part of the Institute of Research in Humanities, but by collaborating with science-based institutes and schools. We work with specialists in wood and material science, atmospheric science, space technology and information technology at the Research Institute of Sustainable Humanosphere, to extend the scope of our scientific investigation. We have also asked for the participation of the Institute of Sustainable Science, as well as the Graduate School of Agriculture and the Graduate School of Engineering, to strengthen our coverage in research and education.

 By bringing the knowledge of frontier science and technology into contact with the conventional area study disciplines of agronomy, ecology, politics and economics, sociology and anthropology, history, and medical science, this program aims to train a new generation of area study specialists and scientists equipped with a more comprehensive range of humanities, social science and science disciplines than hitherto possible. The outcome of this research will be disseminated through publications in English and in Japanese, and in some critical cases in several other Asian languages.