Top Down Centre of Research
The setting up of the Institute of China Studies (ICS) was proposed by the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after his visit to China as the Deputy Prime Minister in September 2003. The Ministry of Higher Education of Malaysia then directed the University of Malaya to prepare a proposal, leading to the establishment of the ICS on 5 December 2003. The ICS, as the first research institute in the country with specific focus on China, serves as a resource centre and policy adviser to the Government, corporate sector and diplomatic corps on issues related to business political economy and strategic or bilateral relations. While the primary focus of the ICS is on research involving mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, the institute also encourages the study of economic, political, social and cultural development involving ethnic Chinese communities, with a specific focus on Southeast Asia and Malaysia. The ICS will encourage academic exchange programmes on issues of importance to the ICS, University of Malaya. The ICS will initiate and undertake joint research projects with foreign institutions, with particular emphasis on forging collaborative ties with members of the academia in China.
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History of CARUM
The Centre for ASEAN Regionalism University of Malaya (CARUM) aims to be a national resource on ASEAN, and strategically build networks and partnerships and to advance collaborations with researchers on the topic of ASEAN regionalism and comparative regionalism. The centre conducts research on the three pillars of the ASEAN communities and covers all aspects of ASEAN in terms of culture/society, economy, political and security, as well as other broader regional endeavours. Since its set up in 2015, the centre has successfully organised several ASEAN events such as the ASEAN Studies Conference, the ASEAN higher education forum; an international conference on Asian arbitration discourse and practices; a regional workshop on the role of youth in human rights issues in ASEAN; a roundtable on transboundary haze pollution, the Asialink’s conversations on women in leadership, ASEAN-Korea Young Scholars Summer Workshop with 100 young academics from both ASEAN and Korea. Nevertheless, the centre’s aims and objectives transcend organising conferences and forums. An ASEAN research programme with the aims to narrow the development gap in the region has been carried out‐ this endeavour entails several capacity building and developmental sub‐projects across the ASEAN member countries. Situated strategically within UM’s prestigious and renowned campus, CARUM focuses not just on ASEAN but also on ASEAN’s relations with dialogue partners beyond the region. It is concerned with ASEAN-led regionalism, including the building of an East Asian Community, as well as the development of ASEAN itself. Regionalism is also examined as a growing international phenomenon – and ASEAN is compared with other regional organisations. Apart from economic, and political/security issues, CARUM emphasises the inclusion of the Humanities in inter-disciplinary research, giving particular attention to the ASEAN Socio-Cultural community.
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For the first time in human history, civilisations, cultures and groups are compelled to relate to one another on a constant and continuous basis. Yet mutual ignorance exacerbated by mutual suspicion and hostility inhibits them from establishing ties that endure and flourish. Sadly, communal violence has become the bane of humankind at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first. It is the magnitude of violence among different groups in a situation where societies everywhere are becoming multi-cultural that underscores the importance of intercommunity, intercultural and inter-civilisational dialogue. Dialogue and mutual understandings are the prerequisites for building just and equitable relations between cultures and civilisations. Intercultural communication and civilisational dialogue could help strengthen the relationship and improve understanding regarding the fundamental principles and practices that distinguish the various communities. It is important to understand these civilisational differences just as it is important to take cognizance of the affinities that exist between civilisations - especially in the context of the globalisation process. It is only when both the similarities and the differences between civilisations are celebrated can a truly just, humane and compassionate world civilisation evolve. Similarly, as Asia undergoes rapid economic and social transformation, the thinking segments of societies are beginning to realise that growth and prosperity would be meaningless unless founded upon, and shaped by universal spiritual and moral values as those being taught by all beliefs that lie at the heart of great civilisations which were all conceived in the womb of Asia. Therefore, if Asia wants to remain true to its multi-religious and multi-cultural civilisational heritage, it should not hesitate to incorporate spiritual and moral values into its development process through inter-civilisational dialogue.
Being a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a regional grouping, Malaysia will seek to establish its own identity and promote its own interests within the larger Asian and world community with the other member nations. It is hoped that the shared values derived through inter-civilisational dialogue will help mould the ASEAN identity of tomorrow. Malaysia is indeed a nation where civilisations come together. Perhaps no other nation exists on earth where substantial numbers of Buddhists, Christians, Confucianists, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Taoists live together in peace and harmony. Equally remarkable is that these civilisational communities have for decades been exposed to, and have interacted with the Western civilisation. Since such civilisations come together in such a significant manner, they should be encouraged to dialogue with one another. It is through inter-civilisational dialogue and intercultural communication that Malaysia seeks to strengthen the sinews of national unity and national integration. Needless to say, unity among the different communities is fundamental to the nation's survival. That is why Malaysia views inter-civilisational dialogue as crucial to its very existence. It is against this backdrop that the University of Malaya made its pioneering attempt to initiate an inter-civilisational dialogue between Islam and Confucianism in March 1995. Following the success of its first endeavour, the University organized a second inter-civilisational dialogue between Islam, Japan and the West in September 1996. As one of the nation's major universities, it is altogether appropriate that the University of Malaya should be at the forefront of this exciting enterprise. After these two major international conferences and several other national programmes on civilisational dialogue, the University felt that the time was ripe to institutionalise the idea. Towards this end, it decided to establish a Centre for Civilisational Dialogue which aims to undertake various programmes and activities in furtherance of its mission.
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The Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences (IOES) University of Malaya has its roots in the University of Malaya Maritime Research Centre (UMMReC) which was established in 2003 in response to the national call for more concerted research in the marine sciences, considering the importance of Malaysia’s abundant marine heritage as well as to coordinate and lead all research activities and consultancies in marine and maritime research at the University of Malaya. The Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences (IOES), University of Malaya, was approved by the University of Malaya Management on 23 October 2007, and officially launched on 17 January 2008.
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We stand on the brink of a technology revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another. The transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experience before in its scale, scope, and complexity. This technological revolution, known as the Forth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) is happening faster than we can imagine. Its waves are reaching our Malaysian shores, bringing along radical impacts on industry, society and the economy.
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