IIAS signs cooperation agreement with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS)

24 April 2018

On 24 April 2018, in Leiden, the Netherlands, the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) and the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS) signed an agreement to establish a SASS-IIAS Centre for China Studies in Leiden, and an IIAS-SASS Centre for China Studies in Shanghai. The cooperation will relate not only to developments within China, but also to relevant topics in other parts of Asia and beyond. The agreement was co-signed by Leiden University.

The agreement provides for the exchange of researchers between IIAS and SASS and their partners, and cooperation in projects. Moreover, SASS and IIAS agree that the two representative centres should be made fully available to the researchers and members of Leiden University, IIAS’s umbrella structure. Philippe Peycam: “This ceremony is not just celebrating the long-standing SASS-IIAS partnership, but also one that includes Leiden University”. The agreement was signed during a festive ceremony at Leiden University’s Faculty Club, in the presence of a broad group of interested parties from, among others, Leiden University, NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) and the Chinese Embassy. The signatories were Prof. Wang Zhen (王振), Vice-President of SASS, Dr Philippe Peycam, Director of IIAS, and Prof. Carel Stolker, Rector Magnificus of Leiden University.

IIAS-SASS partnership

The present agreement constitutes a new chapter in an already long-standing and active partnership between IIAS and SASS. In 2005, in Shanghai, the two institutes jointly organised the fourth edition of the International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS 4). This was the first ever major international event of this kind in the People’s Republic of China, attended by 1,400 participants from all over the world. From that time on, IIAS forged collaborations with many PRC institutions, including of course, SASS. Another important step in the collaboration between SASS and IIAS was in 2011, when the two organisations joined thirteen other institutes from Asia, Europe and the USA to operate in the IIAS-coordinated interdisciplinary and trans-sectorial research platform, the ‘Urban Knowledge Network Asia’ (UKNA), under the theme of ‘Human Flourishing in Asian Cities’. Among the over 120 researchers that were exchanged between all the UKNA partners, several researchers from the two institutes spent time in both Shanghai and Leiden.

Left to right: SASS Vice-President Prof. Wang Zhen (王振), Rector Magnificus of Leiden University Prof. Carel Stolker and IIAS Director Dr Philippe Peycam.

This year, also under UKNA, SASS and IIAS are organising, in collaboration with Fudan University and New York University Shanghai, a major conference on port cities, taking place in Shanghai in November 2018. In addition, also this year, SASS will be participating, and partnering with IIAS, to support the second edition of the international conference ‘Asia-Africa: a New Axis of Knowledge’, which will take place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on 20-22 September 2018.

Leiden-SASS workshop

The signing ceremony was preceded by an afternoon workshop, during which representatives of SASS and scholars from Leiden University gave presentations about on-going research on both sides. Following introductions by Prof. Wang Zhen and Dr Philippe Peycam, the Director of the SASS Institute of Sociology and Institute of Youth and Juvenile Studies, Dr Yang Xiong (杨雄) spoke on the subject of ‘Chinese Social Development, Challenges and Policy Thinking’. The next speaker was Dr Shi Nan, researcher at SASS, who gave a lecture ‘On the Flexibility of the Renminbi Exchange Rate’. The last two lectures were delivered by researchers from Leiden University. Focusing on ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’, Dr Wang Jue (王珏) of the Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) spoke about the ‘Opportunities and Challenges on the ‘Belt and Road’, after which Dr Rogier Creemer, researcher at the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society of the Leiden Law School, addressed the ‘Role of Technology in Governing China’. The delegation furthermore included Dr Chen Qingan (陳慶安; SASS Institute of Law), and Dr Liu Ahming (刘阿明; SASS Institute of International Relations), who had arrived two weeks earlier to help prepare the day in close collaboration with IIAS staff member Lin Xiaolan (林晓兰), as well as to discuss a business plan for the cooperation between SASS and IIAS for the coming years. The discussion was continued immediately upon the signing ceremony, together with the full SASS delegation.

SASS website: www.sass.org.cn