Annual Newsletter of the Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University
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English News  No.15 , December 2007
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The 21st Century COE Project Enters the Last Months of the Five-year Program
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The 21st Century COE Project Enters the Last Months of the Five-year Program

Ieda Osamu
Ieda Osamu

The five-year program entitled "Making a Discipline of Slavic Eurasian Studies: Meso-areas and Globalization" was launched four years ago under the initiative of the Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University with a special scientific research fund granted by the Japanese Ministry of Education's 21st Century COE (Center of Excellence) Program Committee. Time has gone fast, and this year is the last one. The program proposed a new concept for analyzing the changing post-communist regions, that is, meso-areas, shaping themselves under the agencies of external integration forces from their neighboring regions: for example, an emerging Central East European meso-area under the integration forces of EU enlargement; a Central Eurasian meso-area (mainly Central Asia and the Caucasus) under that of Islamic revival as well as "new Silk Road" projects for transport corridors; and a Far-East & Siberian meso-area under that of East Asian vital economic growth. The research program aimed to make contributions to rejuvenating and advancing international Slavic Eurasian area studies in accordance with the new historical environments of regional integrations, globalization, and re- and multiidentification of peoples. Furthermore, we hoped this project and its analytical concepts would suggest a new imaginative perspective to area studies in general, which are in a blind alley. The program was rather ambitious; however, thanks to nationwide and international cooperation, the SRC was able to successfully carry out the projects, including various research and graduate education projects, such as holding international symposia more than biannually and young scholars workshops annually; publishing almost twenty volumes of the Slavic Eurasian Studies series in English or Russian; inviting thirty foreign visiting fellows; granting thirty-two doctoral candidate scholarships and seventeen post-doctorate fellowships; and so on. At this moment, the SRC is working to organize two symposia: one is the annual winter international symposium, entitled "Asiatic Russia: Imperial Power in Regional and international Contexts" on December 5-7, 2007; the other is the Tokyo symposium, "The New Stage of Slavic Eurasian Studies" on January 24-26, 2008. On the basis of the 21st Century COE Program, the SRC is preparing to apply for another five-year project, which would be more comprehensive in terms of the spaces covered, including not only China but also South Asia, the Middle East, and Scandinavia. Next year's newsletter may give a report on the new program. Thank you, all participants of the COE Program, for your great contribution.

IEDA Osamu

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