Sophia Asia Center for Research and Human Development
The Sophia Asia Center for Research and Human Development deals with (nearby) areas in Asia, and there, by forging bonds of amity with local people it conducts activities as the Sophia Mission (activities of international service). The institute has been serving in Cambodia, and it has been involved in tasks that do not ignore people in distress. By displaying as its axiom of global service the fact that the conservation and restoration of Angkor Wat should be carried out by the Cambodians for the Cambodians, the institute has since 1991 created a curriculum at the site of the monuments, and for the past 30 years it has been involved in human resource development at the site.
- The Hub of our Human Resource Development: We went to Cambodia in the midst of the civil war and in 1996 we have established a center focusing on research and human resource development at the site, which happened to be the only such center in Japan. We then involved ourselves in the development of human resources among the local people, and assisted the Cambodians in reclaiming their courage and hope. We have conducted each summer training sessions for students of the faculties of Archaeology and Architecture of the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh, at the site of the Banteay Kdei monument and the Western Causeway of Angkor Wat. As of now 18 students have acquired degrees at our university’s graduate school (with 11 obtaining master’s degrees and 7 obtaining doctoral degrees).
- The Hub of our International Exchange Activities with Countries of Asia: Every year in summer ‘Tree Shade’ lectures are held as a student exchange activity between Japan and Cambodia, and our agency for Cultural Affairs International Exchange Program for Cultural Heritage (‘Mekong Cultural Heritage Project Related to 5 Nations of Southeast Asia’ of 2014, ‘Project for Exchanges Concerning Focal Points, with reference to the Cultural Heritage in the 10 nations of ASEAN’ of 2017, began anew in 2020 as a ‘Building International Collaboration to Contribute to Cultural Heritage Education in 10 nations of ASEAN.’ Here we convened experts associated with the conservation and restoration of cultural heritage from the 10 nations of ASEAN, and organized workshops to discuss the preservation and renovation of their cultural assets.
- Exchanges with the Local People at the site of the Monuments: From 2011, we established the ‘Sophia Angkor Center for Cultural Heritage Education’ at the site of the Banteay Kdei monument. At this facility, every year in summer, site excursions, visits, and slide projections of cultural heritage are conducted for the elementary and middle school students of the vicinity, in order to enable them to get familiar with the Angkor Wat ruins.