Date: 13 and 14 November 2017
Venue: Graduate School of Social Sciences, Hiroshima University
Objectives of the Seminar
Politics with decision-making at the level closer to the people and to their lives is increasingly important in the political development not just in terms of democratization of societies but also in terms of stable and accountable government. On the one hand, after some troubled decades from the 1960’s, India has developed a system in which political stability in diverse elements is achieved through high standards of local autonomy rather than the well-integrated or centralized institution. This transformation of political system took place not as a planned development but as a consequence of the efforts by various Indian groups to use electoral democracy for increasing their own share in decision-making. On the other, conflicts in Asia find their exits not always through the independence but increasingly through the local autonomy. Different from the earlier examples of Bangladesh or Timor-Leste, independence movement in Aceh ended up with the creation of the real autonomous province of Aceh within Indonesian Republic. The half a century long conflict in Mindanao between the Muslims and the Philippine Government is now following the Acehnese path and, though still many obstacles are foreseen ahead, new autonomous Bangsamoro Government is agreed to be established.
This international seminar is one of the first attempts to discuss and compare those two political developments in Asia that share the notion of decentralization as a source for peace and stability not only in the local areas concerned but also in national and international levels. Those two developments are converse, i.e., Indian cases were to achieve decentralization that resulted in stability while recent peace processes in other parts of Asia aimed at peace and independence to reach the federal structure with the power as decentralized as possible. Therefore, academic encounter of these two is certainly meaningful as different paths they respectively took may give suggestions to the other that can deepen the understanding of their own.
As a first attempt of this kind, the speakers are expected to place their own researches or experiences on local (State) politics, decentralization or peace and stability at the exchange and discussion arena so that any new lights be shed on the academic research on these political developments.
We hope this attempt will enrich the studies of political and peace science.