As Director, it is my great pleasure to introduce the Asia Institute, a School of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne.
The Asia Institute is the University of Melbourne's key centre for studies in Asian societies, languages and cultures. Our programmes include the teaching of Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese and Korean languages, as well as the study of their modern societies. We also offer Islamic Studies and Asian Studies more broadly to provide comparative perspectives. The Asia Institute has close links with other Schools and Faculties across the University, and our programmes are strongly interdisciplinary in focus.
Academic staff at the Asia Institute have an array of research interests and specialisations which may be loosely grouped into five broad clusters: Asian Civil Society, Asian Governance Transformations, Islam and Politics in Contemporary Asia and the Middle East, Language Dynamics in the Asia Pacific, and finally Migration, Gender and Environment. Academics are regularly called on by local and national media sources to provide expert opinion on a range of contemporary and historical issues that arise in scholarly, public and policy debates. They are involved in collaborative projects with scholars based in the region and beyond.
The Asia Institute also has an exciting roster of visiting scholars, regularly hosts conferences and is influential in leading international peak organisations. Our close involvement with the broader community is further demonstrated by our hosting of the National Centre for Contemporary Islamic Studies and the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies.
The importance of Asia and the Middle East to Australia - and the world - continues to grow at a significant pace. Many of Australia's largest and most important trading partners are based in Asia, and diplomatic exchanges between Australia and the Middle East are expanding in both number and importance. The Asia Institute strives to provide leadership in the study of the rich intellectual, legal, political, economic, cultural and religious traditions of these vital regions.
On behalf of our staff and students, as well as our alumni and friends, I am delighted to welcome you to the Asia Institute.
Professor Vedi Hadiz, Director, Asia Institute.