International Institute for Asian Studies

Global Network

Global Networker in Asian Studies

As an institute created to promote Asian studies ‘in context’, yet, internationally, collaboration is fundamental to IIAS' activities. All IIAS activities (research programmes, fellowships, conferences, roundtables, summer schools, etc.) are undertaken in cooperation with a wide variety of national and international partners. It is thanks to these contacts and networks that IIAS can effectively fulfill its role as the global networker in Asian studies, bringing together multiple trans-regional actors who each contribute their specific knowledge and expertise to the dialogue.  

IIAS initiated networks
IIAS is the initiator of several networks, such as the European Alliance for Asian Studies, and, at a global level, the International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS), the Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA), and the Mellon-supported research network Rethinking Asian Studies in a Global Context.

Engaging Asia
Within the purview of its three thematic clusters Asian cities, Asian heritages, and Global Asia, IIAS supports activities aimed at the production of knowledge of Asia in the globalised context of today. To this end, IIAS is keen to directly engage institutes from Asia, and many IIAS activities take place in Asia. However, IIAS takes an inclusive approach: it neither seeks to build ‘enclaves’ in Asia, nor does it wish to act on its own without engaging other partners, from different parts of the world. 


Adding to fellowships sponsored by the Institute, a number of fellowship positions at IIAS are made possible thanks to cooperation with various organisations. One such position is the IIAS-ASC joint fellowship (co-sponsored by the African Studies Centre in Leiden), focusing on Asian-African interactions. IIAS also maintains collaboration with the J. Gonda Foundation to support researchers working on Indology. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) in Beijing works with IIAS to facilitate exchanges between Dutch and Chinese academic institutions, with IIAS regularly receiving scholars from China as a result.

IIAS Thematic Clusters

IIAS works together with a number of strategic partners to realise specific activities and initiatives within the purview of the Institute’s three thematic clusters: 'Asian Cities', 'Asian heritages' and 'Global Asia'

Asian Cities

One strategic partner in the cluster’s Postcolonial Global Cities programme is the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in, the Netherlands. This Institute is also a member of the IIAS-coordinated Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA), a network of 16 Institutes worldwide, involving the exchange of over 100 researchers and the organisation of supportive events.

Asian Heritages

In May 2012 IIAS brought together representatives from Leiden University, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM ), Indonesia, and National Taiwan University (NTU ), Taiwan, in a two-day roundtable to discuss the organisation of a joint master’s degree programme in Asian and European Heritage Studies.

An MoU for the development of a Double Degree MA programme in 'Critical Heritage Studies of Asia and Europe’ was signed between the Leiden Faculty of Humanities and the College of Liberal Arts at NTU, on 4 June 2013, and co-signed by IIAS and the NTU Graduate Institute of Building and Planning. A similar agreement has been signed with Yonsei University in Korea  and Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia.

A joint roundtable conference on IKAT weaving, jointly organised with UGM in October 2012, in Indonesia, also helped to forge links with the local government and craft organisations and with the Indonesian Heritage Trust.  Another joint heritage roundtable was hosted in October 2012 by NTU, entitled: Constructive contestation around urban heritage in Taipei: a new approach for Asian cities? The event was convened in Taipei in cooperation with the NTU ’s Graduate Institute of Building and Planning, IIAS, the Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) and the Institute of Sociology and Institute of Taiwan History of the Taiwanese Academia Sinica.

Global Asia

The third thematic cluster is Global Asia. Within this context a new network has been set up with the University of Zambia and the South-South Exchange Programme for Research on the History of Development (SEPHIS) to further develop the IIAS initiative 'Asian Studies in Africa'. A roundtable was organised in November 2012 in Lusaka, Republic of Zambia, bringing together representatives of the three partners and counterparts from 26 Institutes including Beijing University, China; Makerere University, Uganda; the Social Science Research Council (SSRC); the Southeast Asian Studies Regional Exchange programme (SEASREP); Doshisha University, Japan; and many other institutes from the two regions. The conference led to the establishment of the first pan-African 'Association of Asian Studies in Africa'.

Strategic partners in another project are Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, CSEAS-Kyoto University and Leiden University, with which IIAS is exploring the increasingly troubled relationship between science and society. Finally, the question of how to link knowledge contained in scattered, often hidden ‘orientalist’ collections, was discussed under an initiative put together by IIAS, the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University and the academic publisher Brill, Leiden, in September 2012.