The SRC international symposium
“Elusive Balance:
Regional Powers and the Search for Sustainable Development”
was held on July 9-10, 2009

July 16, 2009, by Shinichiro Tabata  

The first international symposium for the scientific project, “Comparative Research on Major Regional Powers in Eurasia,” was held at the Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University, on July 9-10. This project is funded by a five-year grant-in-aid for scientific research on innovative areas, supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of Japan. The title of the symposium was “Elusive Balance: Regional Powers and the Search for Sustainable Development.” There were five sessions which compared the economies of Russia, China and India from various viewpoints, including macroeconomics, energy, environment, poverty and inequality, and historical developments. There was also an additional session in which scholars from South Asian countries (India, Pakistan and Afghanistan) discussed border issues.

The above mentioned project included six research groups, one of which examined the possibility of sustainable economic development for the regional powers, headed by Professor Akira Uegaki of Seinan Gakuin University. It was this research group that organized this symposium. Four researchers of this group presented papers. Although this project started only last December, these papers gave us a preliminary result of the comparison of the regional powers, especially in the studies of macroeconomics and poverty and inequality. In addition, from sessions on energy and the environment, we learned the importance of these issues for the socio-economic development of these regional powers, and also the importance of these regional powers for finding a solution to these global issues.

In the last session, economic developments of regional powers for the last several centuries were compared both by macroeconomic and inequality indicators. Two presenters attempted to provide an alternative picture and explanations for the catch-up of some East Asian countries from the state of the “Great Diversion” between the Western and developing countries.

Sixteen papers were presented altogether. From abroad ten scholars were invited, including five from South Asia (India, Pakistan and Afghanistan), two from East Asia (China and Hong Kong) and one scholar each from Russia, Finland and the UK. Probably, it was the first time in the history of the SRC that we invited only one scholar from the Slavic Eurasian area for an international symposium. Papers presented at the symposium will be published in various publications of the SRC and other academic journals.

This was the first symposium to be held at the SRC building after its renovation. A television set located in the reception area next to the conference room allowed participants to monitor sessions. Participants enjoyed conversations in a broad space of the reception area during coffee breaks.



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