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NCCU's Asian Studies Plus (AS+) Alliance Gathers Great Minds to Create Sustainable Asia

Date : 2021-09-24 Department : Office of International Cooperation (OIC)

Article by the Secretariat

Asia's surging political and economic power has prompted Taiwan's National Chengchi University (NCCU), a flagship university in the humanities and social sciences in Taiwan, to establish an International Consortium for Asian Studies, known as “Asian Studies Plus” (AS+), which aims to bring transdisciplinary great minds together and cultivate talents who will become local leaders and global citizens.

AS+ will integrate NCCU's 11 colleges and 12 research centers to link with 18 prestigious universities in 12 Asian and European countries. The Alliance will promote Asian Studies globally to solve regional problems and promote the sustainable development of Asia. In addition to building long-term partnerships with excellent universities worldwide, the focus will be on creating innovative academic programs that cultivate knowledge about Asia for a new generation of instructors and students.

AS+ is slated to open in May 2022. Distinguished Professor Lin May-Shine (林美香), Vice President for International Cooperation, NCCU said: The “plus” symbol used with AS+ represents the fact that it is an advanced version of Asian Studies, which attaches great importance to both talent cultivation and sustainable development. It attempts to cultivate global citizens and local leaders by nourishing knowledge for the world through international exchange programs for both teachers and students. The five AS+ interdisciplinary themes are “Multicultural Asia,” “Innovative Asia,” “Nurturing Asia,” “Democratic Asia,” and “Sustainable Asia,” which can be acronymized as “MINDS.” The five themes of NCCU's “Asian Studies Plus” (AS+) covers such disciplinary researches as the humanities, politics, society, economy, education, science and technology, and other areas, in the hope to expand the world's understanding of Asia by harnessing the power of the world's greatest minds.

NCCU will invite the participating universities to host an international academic conference on the themes related to Asian Studies. AS+ will become the first international platform in its kind in Taiwan, initiated by National Chengchi University, to create a culture of developing brilliant minds through sharing academic research resources. It is also intended to make NCCU a globally competitive and internationally influential university of great repute.

University System of Taiwan Vice President Su Heng (蘇蘅) said that NCCU has gained a reputation for developing humanities and social science programs and has offered a total of 116 Asian research related courses on the campus. In other words, NCCU has to date accumulated an unprecedented academic energy in Asian Studies. In addition to cooperating with international prestigious universities or institutions to promote academic interchanges, NCCU also encourages its students to go abroad, expanding with a much more panoramic horizon their multiple learning opportunities in regard to culture, economy, technology and so forth in both Asia and the world.

Vice President for International Cooperation, Professor Lin May-Shine, noted that NCCU has more than 540 sister schools, along with 247 partner universities in 26 countries in Asia. “NCCU has the highest international student ratio amongst all the universities in Taiwan. We are obligated to organize an international Alliance on Asian Studies,” Lin commented. She also emphasized that there are three “upgraded” features of NCCU's “Asian Studies Plus” (AS+) Project. First, it is a kind of cross-disciplinary studies that explore beyond the confines of one single subject. Second, it appeals to the mobility and exchange of both teachers and students with an aim to cultivate global talents and local leaders. Third, its terminal objective lies in the sound and optimal sustainability of Asia as a whole. Given these goals, Lin said she fully expects that NCCU's “Asian Studies Plus” (AS+) would be able to solve regional and global issues, and have a significant and positive impact on Asian prosperity and cultural exchanges.

At present, NCCU's “Asian Studies Plus” (AS+) project is in the preparatory stage and will begin international collaborations after its official opening in May next year. As such, NCCU is organizing “Li Yuan-Tzu Asian Studies Lectures” and “Asian Studies Credit-bearing Program” that will be supported by the funding named after Mr. Li Yuan-Tzu (李元簇), former NCCU President and former Vice President of Taiwan, ROC. It is urgent for us to form AS+ because of the rapid transformation of Asia into a center for global economy and politics. In response to the rapid rise of political as well as economic power in Asia and in order to cultivate transdisciplinary talents who are able to cope with Asian and global new scenarios, National Chengchi University, a flagship university in the humanities and social sciences in Taiwan, considers it not only imperative but obligatory to establish its “International Consortium for Asian Studies” and launch its “Asian Studies Plus” project, which is abridged to AS+.

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