Okayama University


Okayama University Unveils Research Institute for the Dynamics of Civilizations

April 15, 2021

On April 14, Okayama University held the opening ceremony for its newly established Research Institute for the Dynamics of Civilizations. 20 staff and faculty members attended the ceremony for what is now Okayama University's fourth research institute, including President MAKINO Hirofumi, Executive Director for Planning and General Affairs TAKAHASHI Kayo, and Director of the Research Institute for the Dynamics of Civilizations MATSUMOTO Naoko.

President MAKINO said, “I hope that the diverse partnerships supported by this research institute will promote the development of inter-disciplinary research, international personnel exchange, and collaboration with local communities.” Director MATSUMOTO added, “Through collaborations across various fields of research, we can find creative ways to solve problems. I hope that the new study of the Dynamics of Civilizations will become more widely known across Japan and the world.”

Based on the concepts of “from the past to the future” and “from the local region to the world”, the overarching goal of the research institute is to explore the progress and future of human civilizations. While placing humanities and social science disciplines such as archaeology, history, anthropology, economics, sociology, and philosophy at the core, Okayama University researchers will work closely with Japanese and international researchers specializing in geology, biology, chemistry, physics, neuroscience, and information science to carry out multi-faceted research and gain new insights into social problems. By further developing the research and activities carried out by the previous Center for Research on the Dynamics of Civilizations at the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences (established in October 2018), the Research Institute for the Dynamics of Civilizations will contribute to the creation of a sustainable society informed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On the same day as the opening ceremony, a kick-off symposium tilted “Pandemics and Civilizations – Dealing with Infectious Diseases in the Past and Future” was held at the 50th Anniversary Hall. Including participants who joined the event online, approximately 150 people attended the symposium, which featured a special lecture by Professor YAMAMOTO Taro from Nagasaki University's Department of International Health and Medical Anthropology called “Being a Beacon in the With-Corona Era” as well as a panel discussion. During the discussion, panelists considered various topics, including where we as a community and civilization should go from here considering the current reality of the global pandemic, the relationship between humans and infectious diseases from the perspective of the Dynamics of Civilizations, and the goal of creating a sustainable society.