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The Asia Leadership Fellow Program (ALFP), Japan

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The Asia Leadership Fellow Program (ALFP) seeks to create a close, personal and professional network of public intellectuals in Asia, deeply rooted and committed to civil society beyond their own cultural, disciplinary and geopolitical backgrounds.

What is the ALFP?

In 1996, the International House of Japan and the Japan Foundation jointly created the ALFP. The Program provides selected leaders in the region with an opportunity to reside for two months at the International House of Japan in Tokyo, and to engage in collaborative and individual research/exchange activities. Since the initiation of the Program, the ALFP has had five to eight Fellows annually from nearly fifteen Asian countries. Over 50 Fellows who come from diverse professional backgrounds, including academia, journalism, publishing, law, education, the arts, NGOs (non-governmental organizations), and non-profit activities have been through the program. The ALFP seeks to create a close, personal and professional network of public intellectuals in Asia, deeply rooted and committed to civil society beyond their own cultural, disciplinary and geopolitical backgrounds.

The Purpose of the Program

More than 60 percent of the world’s population lives in the region called Asia, where different social institutions, economic systems, cultures, religions, and ethnicities co-exist. This rich diversity includes a wide variety of problems. There is violence against human life and dignity in the form of socio-economic disparity, environmental deterioration, and racial, religious and cultural conflicts.While ‘globalization’ apparently offers potential for broader unity across borders, there are also many stereotypes about and within Asia and a limited flow of information that often results in mistrust, intolerance, ignorance and indifference. It is obvious that states, or the market, alone are incapable of coping with the region’s tasks. The challenges are many but should be and can be articulated, understood and addressed from the perspectives of civil society. Indeed, the ALFP believes that the keys to breakthrough lie in the solidarity of concerned people who recognize and respect each other’s cultural backgrounds and value systems while playing a leading role in initiating effective actions. Such people are considered ‘public intellectuals’ by the ALFP.It is imperative to enhance intellectual dialogue and exchange among public intellectuals who share the same concerns about the future of the globe, and feel the need to build an equitable civil society in the region while reaching out to regional communities in other parts of the world.

Although there are many frameworks in Asia for governmental and semi-governmental dialogue on specific issues, few arenas exist for Asian public intellectuals to interact on long-standing concerns in the region and beyond from a holistic perspective. The ALFP, therefore, seeks to be a central voice in creating such a forum.In order to address various regional and global concerns from the perspectives of civil society,
ALFP seeks to create a “Forum of Public Intellectuals.”

Who are Public Intellectuals?

  • have deep roots in civil society
  • play a leading role in initiating solidarity among concerned people
  • are not confined to one discipline or field of specialty
  • go beyond theory and actively tackle various social issues
  • articulate a critical voice for the cause of common public good and minorities
  • not only reflect but are willing to reach out and motivate people to think of alternative solutions to problems vis-a-vis the status quo
  • value the process of listening to other viewpoints and as a result nurture mutual understanding and trust among those who differ in many ways

Click here to see the ALFP Brochure (PDF)

ALFP Secretariat: c/o Program Department International House of Japan 5-11-16 Roppongi, Minato-ku Tokyo 106-0032 JAPAN Tel: +81-3-3470-3211 Fax: +81-3470-3170E-mail: alfp@i-house.or.jp

Moreinfo: http://www.i-house.or.jp/en/ProgramActivities/alfp/about.htm

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