The 18th Kyoto University International Symposium

Kyoto University

International Symposium

Partnering Asian Academics toward Human Security Development


  • Date: May 24 (Thu) - 25 (Fri), 2012
    Venue: Room 105, Maha Chulalongkorn Building, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
    Hosted by: Kyoto University.


  • The concept of “security” has long been anchored in the idea of the nation-state as the preeminent actor in world affairs and the preeminent unit of scholarly analysis and policy-making. National security, for example, is fundamentally concerned with ensuring the survival of the state against threats posed by other states, or by groups and individuals within and outside its territory. In turn, states are responsible for ensuring the welfare of their respective populations not only by providing protection against violence, but by enabling people to meet basic human needs such as obtaining food, health care, employment and education. In many parts of the world however, these basic needs remain unfulfilled owing to divergent national priorities as well as limits to state capacity. In recent decades, there have been attempts to expand the notion of “security” beyond state-centered perspectives in order to address regionally and globally shared problems and challenges. Coping with and preventing disasters, securing food and water resources, providing adequate health care and dealing with infectious diseases, tapping viable energy sources and protecting the environment are four important human security issues that require the effort and cooperation of individuals, groups, communities and societies. Focusing on the above four issues, this symposium is concerned with formulating and establishing initiatives that aim to secure the basic needs of all peoples while taking into account ecological concerns about the ways in which human society and infrastructure and the ecosystem that supports all living things can co-exist and benefit each other.
  • The main goal of human security development is to empower individuals, groups, communities, and societies within and across nation-states to come up with creative, multi-sectoral and integrative solutions to ensuring their own as well as other people’s, and present as well as future survival, livelihood, and well-being. These solutions are bottom-up initiatives rather than top-down prescriptions, and are deeply informed by people’s ground-level experiences and knowledge. Developing the capacity to work through common problems and challenges requires the pooling of resources and talent. Human security development entails creating highly-interlinked networks that bring people from various sectors across borders in touch with each other to share experiences, ideas, skills, technologies, and best practices. Human security development also means putting into place viable and efficient systems for promoting dialogue, exchange and collaboration, for purposes including: academic research and networking; delivery of material goods; sharing of technology; and for building infrastructure, particularly in Asia.
  • This symposium seeks to elaborate practical systems and technologies for dealing with interlinked issues on infection and health, disaster prevention, food and water, and energy and environment, and to refine the concept of human security development. The emergence and spread of infectious diseases are accelerated by limited access to clean water and food. Disasters are triggered by natural hazards, but their impact on human life is amplified by vulnerable water, food and energy supply infrastructure and institutions. Food, water and energy issues must be tackled without sacrificing the welfare of humans and the environment. Recognizing that these issues have both global and regional significance and therefore require not only global but, in particular, regional attention and cooperation, this symposium will lay the groundwork for expanding and strengthening the academic network for collaboration and exchange in higher education and research between Kyoto University and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations University Network.


International Affairs Division
Kyoto University

renkei at
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