Sophia International Symposium, 1998
"Development and Democratization in the Globalization Process"


On June 27, 1998, the Symposium on the theme mentioned above was held at Sophia University, under the cosponsorship of the "Islamic Area Studies" Project and the Graduate Program on Area Studies of Sophia University (Tokyo). There were more than 200 participants in the Symposium and they had a very interesting discussion. Here we would like to summarize the discussion and we hope you will read some of the resumes which were distributed on that day if you would like to know more details.

Presentations were given by three scholars;

* Prof. Temario C. Rivera (University of the Philippines, guest professor at International Christian University), "Globalization, Development and Democracy toward the 21st Century: Perspective from Asia."

* Prof. Hayder Ibrahim Ali (Sudanese Study Center), "Civil Society and Democratization in Arab Countries with Special Reference to the Sudan," (This presentation will be published as a forthcoming working paper of the Program in 1998.)

* Prof. Renate Brigitte Viertler (University of Sao Paulo), "Development, Democratization and Globalization: What Will be the Future of Brazilian Indian Tribes?"

Each presentation suggested some problems regarding democratization and development in the Philippines, Sudan and Brazil. Prof. Tsugitaka Sato (University of Tokyo) and Prof. Kazuyuki Matsuo (Sophia University) made some comments on the presentations, and other participants also took the floor for the discussion.

As a result of the timely theme of the Symposium and the impact of drastic political changes such as those in Indonesia, participants were very interested in the topics of the Symposium. In particular, they mainly discussed mainly how Islam will relate to problems concerning development and democratization in South-east Asia and the Middle East. We can summarize these discussions as follows:

Though globalization and capitalist economic development, the world is now a closer-knit, wider ranging network. This has resulted in great progress by movements toward 'democratization'. However, this globalization and democratization involve many negative dimensions such as

1. Widening of the gap between rich and poor people,

2. Expansion of ecological destruction and environmental disruption, especially as it compels some minorities to change their life-style,

3. The continuation of dictatorial authoritarian regimes.

Because the relationship between Islam as a religion and as a philosophy and these problems is extremely complex, we could not come to a conclusion in our discussions. On the other hand, this means that we can not understand the problems of the next century in Asia, Middle East and Africa without an understanding of what Islam is.