Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden strengthens expertise on Asia

The LeidenAsiaCentre will open its doors on Wednesday 27 January. This is the place for applied knowledge on Asia in the Netherlands.

What influence do Chinese investments have on our economy? What can we learn from the way Japan handles the problem of the ageing of society? And is it possible to do business with North Korea? From 27 January the LeidenAsiaCentre is the place to ask these kinds of questions. 

Societal questions

The LeidenAsiaCentre has been set up to answer concrete questions from society about Asia by conducting short-term research. The centre does this in close cooperation with partners in society, businesses, government bodies and knowledge centres. The LeidenAsiaCentre will also work with third parties to organise activities for the general public.

East Asia

Professor Frank Pieke (Modern China Studies) is the Executive Director of the new centre. Professor Remco Breuker (Korean Studies) and Professor Kasia Cwiertka (Modern Japan Studies) are his co-directors. In the first instance, the research will focus on East Asia. At a later stage, the centre will broaden its activities to other parts of the continent. 

Reducing the divide

Pieke: ‘Our aim with the foundation of the LeidenAsiaCentre is to reduce the divide between academic research and daily practice. We use our academic knowledge to resolve societal questions posed by our partners. In many cases these are questions that might not occur to academics themselves. Altogether, this will improve our research.’

Vaes-Elias Fund

The LeidenAsiaCentre has come about thanks to a donation from the former Vaes-Elias Fund to the Leiden University Fund. The centre will build on - and work together with - existing Leiden expertise within the University.

Programme 27 January

The official opening of the LeidenAsiaCentre took place on 27 January in the Small Auditorium of the Academy Building, Rapenburg 73 in Leiden.

15.30    Welcome by Professor Frank Pieke, Executive Director
15:45    Presentation of 'The Far East. Eye to Eye with Mao's China', by Erik Zurcher (†), by his son Dr Erik-Jan Zurcher, Professor of Turkish Studies, Leiden University.

16:00    Lecture 'Venturing Beyond Academia: Why Think Tanks are indispensible for our Interactions with Today’s Asia' by Professor Sebastian Heilmann, Director of MERICS (Mercator Institute for China Studies, Berlin) and Professor of Political Economy of China.

16:45    The relevance of Asian Studies for non-academic partners. Observations by Dr Ben Knapen (member of the Dutch Senate).
17:00    Discussion, followed by drinks (Faculty Club).

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