The Institute of Asia Pacific Studies is a center for research, teaching, and interdisciplinary study on Asia and the Asia-Pacific Rim. It seeks to create a distinctive learning environment and foster wider discussions on relevant themes and issues.
The Asia-Pacific region has become a central focus for many scholars. This is a result of the rapid transformation of the geopolitical landscape and increasing interest in the region’s economic, military and cultural dimensions.
Nevertheless, the concept of the Asia-Pacific is not a new one; it was in fact at the heart of political geography and international relations from its earliest eras. The ‘Problems of the Pacific’ was a key underlying conceptualisation that served to define the intellectual and political imagination of those who came together at thirteen eminent conferences between 1925 and 1958 (see our ‘Pan-Pacific’ section for more on this).
As a contested geographical space, it offered thinkers the opportunity to explore issues which were both complex and interconnected. This led to the creation of a number of important scholarly initiatives.
These included the Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR), founded in Honolulu in 1925 by a group of men and women who were keenly interested in the ‘Problems of the Pacific’, particularly the growing American influence in the region. The IPR was a highly experimental and semi-official organisation which strove to stimulate discussion about the problems affecting Pacific regions, with ‘unofficial’ diplomacy at its heart.
Today, Asia-Pacific studies have come a long way in terms of the range of topics, methods and approaches taken by scholars in this interdisciplinary field. This advanced training program offers early career scholars a chance to explore the diversity of these various approaches, to hear from leading scholars in these fields and to present their own work to a small group of peers and the instructors. The aim is to cultivate a network of scholars devoted to the study of Asia-Pacific history and contemporary relations in the region.