In 2011, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) initiated a New Large-Scale Research Program “Southeast Asian Studies for Sustainable Humanosphere.” The aims of this program are to strengthen the sustainable humanosphere as a leading principle supporting the construction of an East Asian academic community. In order to overcome the political and economical imbalances inherent in globalization and worldwide environmental problems, this program is developing research that actively makes use of “local knowledge” that has accumulated in response to Southeast Asia’s specific characteristics.
In order to do this, the program has three principle objectives.
- To aim at the promotion of research on plural co-existence by focusing on social capital, the strengthening of social infrastructures, and supranational regional restructuring. The key to this is to look at how social networks serve as public property.
- To promote research on tropical biomass society by taking the global capitalization of tropical biomass as a key concept and by focusing on glocal linkages between tropical biomass society and global interests.
- In order to foster cooperation among academic communities in Southeast Asia and East Asia and to strengthen Japan’s role in it, hold sustainable humanosphere seminars in the region; promote graduate level education; develop and maintain an international system for sharing research results; and establish an a Consortium for Southeast Asian Studies in Asia.
At present, the need for Southeast Asian Studies is dramatically increasing. As ASEAN, the region is now home to more than 600 million people and has become an important political and economic entity. The area, located in a tropical region, possesses a wealth of biomass resources provisioned by an abundant solar energy supply and is attracting attention as an area that owns new energy sources which are potential alternatives to fossil fuels.
By focusing on the political, economic and ecological possibilities in the region, CSEAS is conscious of its responsibility to explore co-existence, environmental harmonization, energy and resources economization and sustainable social development. Through increasing linkages and networks with universities and research institutions in the region, CSEAS hopes to pursue and promote “knowledge in the region” to be “knowledge for future generations in the world.”