It is my great honour to have the opportunity to serve as President of the Comparative Education Society of Asia. Since it was established in 1991, CESA has grown in membership, geographic representation, capacity and academic influence. It has functioned successfully as a platform for promoting exchange and cooperation in research and teaching, as well as mutual understanding, friendship and international dialogue amongst those engaged in researching education in, or about, Asia.
In an age of dramatic social and technical change, education in different countries and regions faces similar challenges, problems and difficulties. CESA as an academic community should operate as a platform for collaborative research into such issues, for promoting the balanced development of education across Asia, and for advancing the frontiers of educational scholarship. In recent decades across Asia, numerous masters and doctoral programs in Comparative Education have been launched or expanded. CESA can and should do more to facilitate and strengthen networks amongst relevant institutions to improve the quality and range of Asian scholarship in the field of Comparative Education. It can do this, for example, through enhancing mechanisms for promoting faculty and student mobility, organizing professional development events (such as the writing workshops held in conjunction with our conferences since 2016), and upgrading its website and enhancing its online presence. Through these and other measures, CESA can make an even more significant contribution to creating an Asian community of educational comparativists – the core aim espoused by its founders almost three decades ago.
The development of Comparative Education across Asia has been uneven. As the president of CESA, I call on established scholars in this field to volunteer their assistance to those institutions, countries or regions where the tradition of Comparative Education is relatively weak, in order to help build new programs and draw those who have been isolated or overlooked into closer engagement with their international colleagues.
In this age of globalization, the development of CESA as well as its individual and institutional members is closely intertwined with the development of the broader Comparative Education community globally. CESA will continue to play an active role and amplify its voice within the WCCES, strengthen its ties with other comparative education societies throughout the world, and, crucially, assist its members in enhancing the international visibility and influence of Asian educational scholarship. It is partly with this end in view that, as of 2017, we have entered into a formal partnership with the Asia-Pacific Journal of Education – which is now officially the CESA journal.
CESA’s 11th biennial conference will be held in 10–12 May, 2018 in Siem Reap, Cambodia – location of the World Culture Heritage Site, Angkor Wat. The theme of the conference is Education and Social Progress: Insights from Comparative Perspectives. The conference will offer the opportunity for presentations of cutting-edge research addressing theoretical, empirical, and practical problems in education. All educational researchers, policymakers, scholars, students and other stakeholders are sincerely invited to attend the conference and make their contributions to the field.
Now in its third decade, CESA faces new opportunities, and new challenges from a position of unprecedented strength. But CESA‘s future depends on the joint efforts and contributions of academics from around Asia and beyond. We sincerely welcome questions, suggestions, and new ideas for collaboration from colleagues throughout the world. Let us join hands and try to make a difference in education.
Professor Liu Baocun
Institute of International and Comparative Education
Beijing Normal University, China