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Focus Asia 2006

26-27 April & 22-23 November

Religious and Social movements in East and South-East Asia

On 26 April the lectures addressed new developments and research regarding the social and political role of religion in contemporary East and South-East Asian societies. In China and Japan we see a revival of religion and a redefinition of religion as a result of both domestic and global developments. In the South-East Asian societies religion has traditionally played a more active role in political life. Today we also see the rise of a more radical Islam that has implications outside of the region.


HIV/AIDS in East and South-East Asia

HIV/AIDS has been described as one of the worst pandemics of modern time. Until recently Sub-Saharan Africa has been in focus, but today Asia is perceived as a new "hot zone" due to the rapid increase of HIV infections. The lectures highlighted some of the most pressing issues in the field of HIV/AIDS in Asia today namely the role of national and international actors, marginalised groups and universal treatment.


Young in Asia

Focus Asia in November 2006 took the form of a documentary film festival with the theme Young in Asia. The film festival showcased ten films that reflected the different challenges, choices, and dreams of young people in Asia. The situation of young people in Asia mirrors developments in their respective societies. But the films also revealed the great differences that exist both within and among Asian societies due to poverty and social and cultural customs.

Many young people in Asia live lives not much different from those of young people in Sweden. They listen to the same kind of music and buy the latest fashion and other consumer goods. Middle class youth in Shanghai and Delhi probably have more in common with young people in Sweden than they have with their peers working in sweat-shops in Shenzhen or having to sell themselves into prostitution in Bachara.

The films told a number of moving stories about ordinary young people in Asia, ranging from North Korea, Japan, and China to Burma, Vietnam, Indonesia and India.

Throughout the fall the Centre also arranged public lectures on Youth in Asia;

  • 14 September, "Attitudes and Values of Chinese Youth: The Contradictions and Interactions among Internationalism, Nationalism and Materialism Amid Changing State-Society Relations" By Professor Stanley Rosen, Director, USC College East Asian Studies Center,  
  • 26 October, "Japanese Youth: Hope of the Nation or Threat to Society?" by Dr. Monica Braw,  
  • 2 November, "The War between Vietnam and the USA: An Intergenerational Perspective" by Assoc. Professor Helle Rydström, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies

Two of the film directors also gave public lectures, on 9 November Folke Rydén director of The Tsunami Generation gave a talk on documenting a tragedy and on 17 November, Micha X. Peled, director of China Blue discussed his film project.