Why We Need an Asia Center?
Asia is home to 60% of world population and is undergoing profound change and resurgence. Already producing over 40% of the global GDP, Asia’s share in the global economy is projected to increase to exceed 60% by the end of this century. The region promises enormous potential as well as risks owing to extant geopolitical rivalries as well as the rapid growth of its middle class. The study of dynamics unfolding in Asia is of great importance for any country with a stake in the future of global politics, economics and society.
There is increasing awareness of the importance of Asia around the world, which propels the demand for experts on the peoples, issues and dynamics of the Asian continent. Consequently, the number of centers for Asian studies has also been increasing in North America and Europe.
The vastly diverse demographics, issues and dynamics shaping the present and future of this increasingly important region mandate a multidisciplinary focus on Asia. Turkey will be directly influenced by the evolution of Asia in the world.
Turkey is conveniently poised to monitor, analyze and interpret developments in this region thanks to her geographical, historical, and cultural proximity – uniquely positioning her as the Asian gateway to Europe and European gateway to Asia.
However, she requires urgent steps to raise the next generation of scholars and experts who can interpret developments, form bridges, recognize and help seize opportunities while guiding away from plethora of challenges and even risks emanating from this region.
Given the infancy of research and education on Asia in Turkey, Koç University’s Center for Asian Studies (KUASIA) will fill an important gap. Koç University has the potential to establish a dedicated center to study various issues of pertinence in Asia. The University is endowed with unique characteristics to promote scholarship and expertise on Asia thanks among others to its international connections, solid multidisciplinary teaching and research capabilities, English language medium of operation and instruction, as well as its adaptive and pioneering leadership. The Center has the potential to become the leading research center in both Turkey and her neighborhood.