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Bristol appoints leader for East Asian initiative

Press release issued: 21 October 2004

Bristol University's new Centre for East Asian Studies (CEAS) is to be led by Dr Joshua Ka-ho Mok, currently of the City University of Hong Kong.

Bristol University’s new Centre for East Asian Studies (CEAS) is to be led by Dr Joshua Ka-ho Mok, currently of the City University of Hong Kong. He will take up Bristol’s first professorship in East Asian Studies in January 2005 and prepare for the official launch of CEAS with an international conference in September.

Dr Mok, 39, who gained his PhD at the London School of Economics, has an international reputation as a researcher, teacher, writer and editor on social development, public policy and governance issues. The long list of publications in his name will soon include a major book on ‘Education Reform and Education Policy in East Asia’.

In addition to his academic roles as Associate Dean and Associate Professor at the City University of Hong Kong, Dr Mok is involved at a senior level in university administration.

His appointment to CEAS will not be the start of his relationship with Bristol: he has served as an external examiner for the university on a number of occasions. He has worked closely with Bristol colleagues on a study of globalization and launched the journal Globalization, Societies & Education.

Professor Ray Forrest, one of the driving forces behind the establishment of CEAS at Bristol, said: “This is a great appointment for us. Dr Mok has an outstanding track record as a scholar and also has the vision, energy and leadership skills required to take the new Centre into the premier league.”

Dr Mok said: “Establishing CEAS was a wise and imaginative move by Bristol. I relish the prospect of working with my new colleagues to make it an international success.”

The vital importance to UK and European interests of understanding and engaging with an emerging super power is the inspiration behind CEAS. The interdisciplinary centre will focus on postgraduate teaching and research.

East Asia will become a leading global player this century. At present growth rates – more than nine per cent a year – China’s economy will overtake America’s in 2038. 

To its full- and part-time postgraduates, the centre will offer a world-class opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for a successful career with an East Asian dimension. As well as economic, social, cultural and political issues, the centre’s Masters programmes will cover Mandarin and Japanese languages and offer the chance to work or study in East Asia as part of the course.

Agreements with universities in East Asia will generate opportunities for research collaborations, language training and staff and student exchanges. 

Companies in the South West also stand to gain from Bristol’s initiative. They will have a new source of research and consultancy and a flow of graduates equipped to deal with emerging East Asian markets. Given that China alone has a population of 1.3 billion, including 300 million middle-class consumers, the impact on the regional economy could be substantial.

The centre is co-directed by experts from the University’s School for Policy Studies, Department of Historical Studies, Language Centre and Faculty of Social Sciences and Law. This means CEAS will be able to tailor its Masters programmes to specialist interests and respond quickly to emerging priorities.  Globalisation and the future of East Asia, Anglo-Chinese jurisprudence, post-Mao Shanghai and contemporary Japanese culture are among the topics likely to be available to the first intake of students in October 2005.

While key beneficiaries of CEAS’s work will be individuals and companies that want to engage with the East Asian economies, the cultural sector is set to gain as well. One subject of interest to the centre is the wealth of photographic images of old China that exists in previously undiscovered archives. CEAS will tap into these resources and establish the world’s leading digital library of such pictures.

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