Waseda University, based on the ideals behind its founding, declared its plan for “Waseda University in Its Second Century” on the occasion of its 125th anniversary. Part of its core strategic plan called the “Grand Design for Education and Research in the 21st Century” involves the university’s struggle to solve various global problems and to establish an international institute for the Asian region. In consideration of its history and current status the university made its slogan for the future the “Co-creation of Intelligence in the Asia-Pacific Region.”

GSAPS, the first independent graduate school at Waseda University, was established in 1998 under this strategic plan. Since then, the university has pioneered graduate education in Japan. For example, the admission office selects students twice a year, making a comprehensive admissions decision based on application materials and interviews. Lectures are given not only in Japanese but also in English. Bureaucrats, civilians and the staff of international organizations are often invited to join the teaching staff, and students evaluate educational contents. GSAPS previously had two subjects, but one of them (the International Business program) was incorporated into the Graduate School of Commerce in April of 2007, leaving only International Relations. The teaching staff consists of both researchers and businesspersons from a variety of research fields and disciplines. In particular, the principal investigators in charge of this COE have been responsible for numerous international projects, so many of their students are from abroad. They are mainly from countries comprising the East Asian Community such as China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. However, there are also Americans, Australians, Indians and others who are concerned about international relations in East Asia.

Indeed, the most significant characteristic of GSAPS is that many of its students are foreigners ? especially those awarded government grants. As of January 20, 2007, 21 of the 102 overseas Ph.D. students were recipients of Japanese government scholarships. Every year, five to seven students are invited from Peking University’s School of International Studies, which shares a double degree program with us. Four students have been awarded Ph.D.s through this program, and these past achievements have established the groundwork for our new research and education program.

One of our most significant achievements in recent years was SDIJP program the Initiative for Attractive Education in Gradate Schools. As part of this program, we organized a seminar in August of 2006 called "Creating Cooperation and Integration in Asia." In addition to students from Waseda University, we invited excellent students from Peking University (China), Tsinghua University (China), Seoul National University (South Korea), Korea University (South Korea), the National University of Mongolia, the Australian National University, the National University of Singapore, Chulalongkorn University (Thailand) and De La Salle University (The Philippines). With the help of our Ph.D. teaching assistants, all these students participated in the seminar and research trip we offered. According to Prof. Eun Ki-soo of the Graduate School of International Studies at Seoul National University, it was very difficult for the university to select participants because there were so many applications. The summer seminar, which could be regarded as the test run for this COE program, received a lot of positive feedback. Many researchers who participated in this seminar commented that although such an attempt was a new initiative it was a very important first step. These encouraging words convinced us that this COE program is unique and important on a global scale.

At the Ph.D. student workshops (held on March 26, 2006 and January 27, 2007), jointly organized by SDIJP and the 21st Century COE program, first-class researchers invited from eight universities (including Peking University, Nankai University and Korea University) commented on the research reports of our Ph.D. students. During the workshops, we repeatedly received very positive evaluations concerning the potential of our COE program. For example, Prof. Peter Drysdale of the Australian National University said, “I think this workshop is an excellent step forward or great platform for continuing developing the graduate program in this school.”

Among the graduate schools established on a similar basis as GSAPS are Seoul National University’s Graduate School of International Studies, Korea University’s Graduate School of International Studies and Peking University’s School of International Studies. Such institutions confirm that our students are of exceptional quality and adhere to high educational standards. These institutions send a lot of students to our summer seminars. Also the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs admires GSAPS and constantly exchanges students with us.

The SDIJP program has a great reputation with both individuals and organizations. At the MEXT University Education Reform Program Joint Forum, held in November of 2006, our program was introduced as representative of the field of humanities and social sciences.

The Educational and Research Institutes of Waseda University: An Abundant Source of Researchers on Asian Issues

GSAPS's closest partner is the Waseda University Organization for Asian Studies (OAS). The OAS is an outgrowth of the Creation of New Contemporary Asian Studies and the Research Center for Enhancing Local Cultures in Asia, both 21st Century COE programs which ended in March of 2007. The OAS was officially launched in 2006 under Takayasu Okushima, the former president of Waseda University. It aims to build cooperative relationships among all the researchers concerned with Asian issues throughout the university. GSAPS also cooperates closely with the renowned Faculty of Political Science and Economics (of the Graduate School of Political Science and the Graduate School of Economics) and the Faculty of Social Sciences (of the Graduate School of Social Sciences) through the 21st Century COE programs. Two professors from each of these graduate schools are registered as principal investigators of the program. In addition, there are many educators and researchers who are looking at Asian issues in the fields of social, human and natural sciences in the Faculty of Law; the Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences; the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences; the Faculty of Commerce; and the Faculty of Science and Engineering. We are asking all these people for their generous support to proceed with this program.