API workshop held in Davao Expansion of eligible countries considered [2008/02/04]
Chariman Sasakawa Speaking at the Opening Ceremony of the API Workshop
From November 25 to 29, in Davao, the Philippines, the 6th annual workshop of The Nippon Foundation Fellowships for Asian Public Intellectuals (API) was held, giving fellows from the past year a chance to report on their research activities and discuss matters such as shared research subjects and future plans. Six fellows were selected from each of the five eligible nations (Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, the Philippines, and Malaysia) for a total of 30 participants. Former fellows, representatives from partner instituttions, and participants from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) were also in attendance, for a total of about 70 attendees.
In the November 25th opening ceremony, Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of the Nippon Foundation, expressed the aim of the program: “Asia is faced with a large number of issues that transcend national borders. It is my hope that this API program not only will serve to achieve progress in Asia but will also grow into an organization that communicates the voice of Asia to the world.” The API program is unique in that it requires fellows to conduct research outside of their own countries, thus building a trans-national network of intellectuals. Fellows come from a variety of professions, including, but not limited to academics, journalists, activists, and people working at nongovernmental organizations. Research themes for this year covered a wide range, from politics to natural disasters, religion and traditional culture. Director Koji Tanaka of Kyoto University’s Center for Integrated Area Studies, who took part in the workshop, commented, “The strongest facet of this program is the community that both current and past fellows are building together.” Including fellows from the 2007 group, more than 200 public intellectuals have participated in the program to date.(Photo:The Opening Ceremony)
Ex-president Corazon Aquino, also in attendance for the first time since the initial 2002 conference in Bali, expressed high hopes for the future of the group, and in an interview with a Philippine newspaper before the workshop, Chairman Sasakawa made it clear that this was not a short-term project, saying “We can only develop human resources by building a foundation and then continuing our efforts in the long term.”(Photo:Workshop Participants)