Due to the process of rapid globalization, there is now more need than ever to tackle urgent global problems such as the disparity in the North-South divide and growing environmental concerns. The effects of such problems are most keenly felt in developing areas – particularly in tropical Asia and Africa.
Established in 1998, the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies promotes an interdisciplinary approach to area studies in order to better understand the world’s diverse regions. The school aims to train specialists in Asian and African area studies, who have a global perspective, but also retain a detailed understanding of localities.
The graduate school consists of three divisions: the Division of Southeast Asian Area Studies, the Division of African Area Studies, and the Division of Global Area Studies. Comparative area studies are vital to all three divisions, and long-term fieldwork, a hallmark of area studies, is emphasized in the five-year doctoral program. In modern times, it is vital that all countries contribute to global efforts toward sustainable development, and also to social welfare. Successful implementation of international aid hinges on a deep understanding of the aid-receiving areas. In addition to training specialists in Asian and African area studies, therefore, the graduate school also offers master’s degrees for those seeking to work with international aid organizations.