The Dynamism of Muslim Societies
-Toward New Horizons Islamic Area Studies-

Since the first International Conference on Islamic Area Studies in 1997, the 2001 conference was widely hailed as the most successful of all international conferences concerned with the subject. The remarkable success is credited to the organizational committee's impeccably thorough preparation and organization, and the enthusiasm of all participants regarding research. Some comments that I'd like to makeabout the conference are as follows:

1. The organizational committee's preparation was extremely meticulous.The attentive consideration for the needs of researchers from abroad, in particular, was quite impressive. I spent lots of time with Professor and Mrs. Cornell from the University of Arkansas during the conference period, we expressed the great appreciation of the organized management throughout the conference as well as the beauty of Chiba. A minor inconvenience was the difficulty in the relatively time consuming commute to the conference site located far from downtown.

2. A most remarkable feature of the conference was the eager participation of young researchers. The large number of participating Japanese graduatestudents, the attentive concentration on the lectures and the busy hands looking up words in the English dictionaries to better understand were all enough to convince me of the bright future of Japanese research on Islamic Area Studies. Even more gratifying was the fact that female participation exceeded that of the males, for example at Session 2 and Session 4. (I actually counted the numbers!) Keep it up!

3. This international conference was a significant opportunity for all researchers from around the world to exchange views about common mutual interests in the Islamic Area Studies. It was an honor to actually meet and hear the views of distinguished researchers that we've known only through books. Albeit the fact thatsome viewpoints forwarded by fervent foreign researchers may have raised issues in a misguided framework, the conference was all in all a valuable opportunity for me to reflect upon and set spur to my continuing research.

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The dynamism of Islamic area studies in Japan

KIM Jeong A
(Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, KOREA,
Foreign research fellow, IAS 1998-1999)