History of SIAC

The Sophia University Institute of Asian, African, and Middle Eastern Studies (IAAMES) was established in April 1982 for the purpose of promoting study on three regions of Asia, namely Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East, as well as joint research and educational activities with countries in the regions. Since then, the Institute has made headway in research on the regions. Furthermore, it has also played an important role in the university's educational activities at both undergraduate and graduate levels. IAAMES started with only three Institute Fellows, but it has grown to comprise thirteen Institution Fellows as of 2016, and the number of Visiting Fellows, Collaborative Fellows, Visiting Researchers have also increased significantly.

The IAAMES participated and played a leading role in several large-scale research projects. These include “Islamic Area Studies” (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology - Japan (MEXT), 1997 to 2002), “Islamic Area Studies” (National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU) program, 2006 to present), “Area-based Global Studies” (MEXT COE project: 2002 to 2007), and “Organization for Islamic Area Studies” (MEXT Promotion Project for Distinctive Joint Research, 2008 to 2012).

The flourishing research activities of IAAMES led to the establishment of a couple of new research centers at the university. One is the Asia Center for Research and Human Development (founded in 2002), and the other is the Center for Islamic Studies (founded in 2010) with IAAMES as its parent organization. We work in close cooperation with these centers.

In recent years IAAMES extended its research to include contemporary global issues. Research projects along this line include “A Comparative Research on Environment and Development in Asia: Within the Context of the Evolution of Information Technology and Globalization” (The Science Research Promotion Fund by The Promotion and Mutual Aid Corporation for Private Schools of Japan, 2002 to 2003), which was jointly conducted with the Institute for the Studies of the Global Environment of the university. Another is “Cultural Heritage in the Resurgence of Nationalism: A Comparison of the Re-structuring of Identity in Asia and Africa” (The Science Research Promotion Fund by The Promotion and Mutual Aid Corporation for Private Schools of Japan, 2009 to 2010).

The results of these research projects are made available to the public through publications of IAAMES and other books and articles by Institution Fellows.