The Sophia University Institute of Asian, African, and Middle Eastern Studies (IAAMES) is a Research Unit within the Sophia University Research Institutes Division, and it is composed of Institution Fellows, Honorary Fellows, Visiting Fellows, Collaborative Research Fellows, a Research Assistant, and administrative staff. A staff committee composed of Institution Fellows serves as the decision making body for the Institute. The Director is elected among Institute Fellows and serves as the representative of the Institute and manages the overall affairs of the Institute.
Institute Fellows, Visiting Fellows, Collaborate Fellows, and Research Assistants participate in the research projects of the Institute, and conduct research activities in accordance with the themes of each project.
Most of the Institute Fellows are professors of the Faculty of Global Studies, and also the Graduate Program in Area Program of the Graduate School of Global Studies, teaching various subjects concerning Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and area studies in general.
With the launch of the Promotion Project for Distinctive Joint Research of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology - Japan (MEXT) (2008 to 2012), the Sophia Organization for Islamic Area Studies (SOIAS) was established on April 1, 2008 within the Institute as part of a network-based joint research center composed of five units: Waseda University (which serves as headquarters of the program), Tokyo University, Sophia University, Kyoto University, and Toyo Bunko (the Oriental Library). With the aim of establishing a substantial body of knowledge on Islam and Islamic civilization, it undertook research on contemporary issues utilizing a historical approach as well as comparative methods between regions. SOIAS conducted research on several issues including “secularism and the secularization of Islamic society” and “the history and current states of relationships between Islam and other religions”, successfully concluding them in March 2013.
Related University Institutions
Sophia University Center for Islamic Studies
The Sophia University Center for Islamic Studies was established on April 1, 2010 as a center to promote the Islamic Area Studies program of the National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU) during the duration of the program. The Center is led by Institution Fellows of the Institute of Asian, African, and Middle Eastern Studies engaged in Islamic studies. It maintains a close relationship with the Institute of Asian, African, and Middle Eastern Studies and also conducts its research activities in collaboration with the Sophia Organization for Islamic Area Studies (SOIAS). The Center promotes research concerning Islam, working together with the Department of Asian Cultures of the Faculty of Foreign Studies and the Graduate Program in Area Studies of the Graduate School of Global Studies, as well as externally with the university's overseas network on a global level.
The topics of research undertaken by the Center include “the social aspects of Islamic movements”, “the expansion and development of popular Islam”, and “the Islamic networks linking Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa”, which fall under a broad theme “Modernity in Islam and people’s network”.
Sophia University Asia Center for Research and Human Development
The Sophia University Asia Center for Research and Human Development was established in 2002 as an Affiliated Research Organization at the university by the initiative of Institution Fellows of the Institute of Asian, African, and Middle Eastern Studies that are engaged in the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage sites in Angkor Wat. The Center aims at developing specialists and researchers for cultural heritage all across Asia. The predecessor to the Center was the Sophia Angkor International Mission that was opened in August, 1996 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Center’s Headquarters is located in Siem Reap, Cambodia, while an office is located at Sophia University.
The Center is used as a training facility for human resources that are involved in the restoration and preservation of Angkor Wat and other cultural heritage in Asia. It is conducting research on history, archeology, art history and other related fields. The Center works in close cooperation with the Institute of Asian, African, and Middle Eastern Studies, especially in a joint “cultural heritage research” project, playing an important role as the base for fieldwork.
Sophia Research Center in Cairo
The Sophia Research Center in Cairo was established in 2008 as a new overseas center for Sophia University.
The Center was initially launched by the Graduate Program in Area Studies of the Graduate School of Global Studies of the university in 2008 as part of the activities for “Training Program for Collaborative Area Studies Supported by Field Stations: Promoting Interactivity of Area Studies” project (MEXT Program for Enhancing Systematic Education in Graduate Schools: 2008-2010). Currently it continues to serve as center for university’s research and education in the Middle East, which is jointly conducted by IAAMES, Center for Islamic Studies, the Department of Asian Cultures of the Faculty of Foreign Studies, and the Graduate Program in Area Studies.
The Center is currently located within the office of the Cairo Research Station of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and is engaged in collecting the research and educational materials, supporting professors, researchers and students who conducts fieldwork in Egypt, and serves as a liaison office with educational and research institutions in Egypt and those of other countries based in Cairo. As the first overseas center of the university with resident staff, the Center is going to further expand its activities in the future.
Related External Institutions
Japan Consortium for Area Studies
The Japan Consortium for Area Studies was founded in April 2004 and consists of a variety of universities, research institutions and NGOs engaged in area studies. It aims to promote information exchanges and joint research activities across different organizations. As of June 2013, it was composed of 96 organizations, and IAAMES has played an important role in the operations of the Consortium since its establishment.