Many EU and non-EU governments have concluded that the Humanities and Social Sciences could and should make a greater contribution to public policy making. For instance, the Pentagon has recently admitted that top US decision-makers were not sufficiently informed about the cultural background of Iraq when they planned the 2003 US-led invasion. Cultural perspective is essential in foreign policy-making, in particular in Asia, where EU decision-makers have acknowledged the enormous need for Area Studies cultural and social science tools to facilitate greater understanding and better geopolitical analysis. The IDEAS project will address this need by coordinating a network of 44 research institutions specialized in Asian Area Studies with a view to creating a user-oriented research knowledge base. Particular attention will be paid to the sharing of infrastructure (most notably 22 field research centers located in 15 Asia countries), knowledge resources (libraries and catalogues), and exchanging scholars. The main goal in coordinating this institutional network is to ensure a greater connection between the spheres of academic research and the needs of policy-makers. Therefore, the first project deliverable is to define priorities for Area Studies research in the next decade. The shortlist of priorities pending approval by the IDEAS scientific committee currently includes: Islam in Asia, the level of autonomy granted to minorities (in particular secessionist tensions in South India), migration (notably internal migration, which is of particular concern in China), the reconstruction and re-interpretation of history to justify present policies (i.e. the concept of “Harmonious society” in China), and how the history of the 19th century relates to modern Asia.
Fields of science
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Funding SchemeCSA-CA - Coordination (or networking) actions