It is widely agreed that this is the “Asian century”. Yet it is easy to point to evidence – escalating trade wars, diplomatic “cold wars”, the misjudging of the initial Covid outbreak and even physical attacks on overseas Asian students and academics – suggesting that Western politicians and citizens have little understanding of Asia and its people. This raises obvious challenges for business, policymaking and diplomacy, where universities might be expected to help bridge the gap. Yet they can provide little help as long as Asia studies remains a minor and marginalised discipline within most institutions.
Experts warn that universities and politicians are doing their nations a disservice by failing to give Asia the attention it merits. One sobering assessment comes from Scott Kennedy, a senior adviser at the Washington-based Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) and the founding academic director of Indiana University’s China Office: “There has always been insufficient attention paid to Asia in American universities, and probably elsewhere, relative to the significance of Asia.” If things get even worse, “we will learn less and understand less at a time when we need to know more. The gap between what we know and what we need to know will widen.”
To read more : Times Higher Education