21 August 2023
NIAS IS CLOSING DOWN!
Courage, cleverness and tenacity have not been enough. After years of spirited resistance, it is now time to face facts – without its core funding, NIAS cannot survive. With a heavy heart, we announce the final closure of the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies on 31 December 2023.
For over 55 years, NIAS has served as one of the leading research centres on Asia in the Nordic region. The reasons why it was founded back in the 1960s remain true today. Asia plays an increasingly important role in our lives yet is poorly understood. One reason is because, across the Nordic region, the field of Asian Studies has a marginal status and is fragmented across various disciplines and research environments.
Over the decades, NIAS has acted as an interdisciplinary meeting point for these fragmented gems. This purpose has been reflected in our aims, achievements, and reputation but also in the challenges we have faced. Through our e-resources, and the library they grew out of, we have provided extensive information resources on Asia. Nordic Asia research has found a global readership through more than half a century of publishing at NIAS, with NIAS Press building a high reputation for innovative research on modern Asia in the past 20 years. Knowledge and awareness of Asia has been boosted in recent years by the Nordic Asia Podcast; its weekly episodes spanning different disciplines and subjects have reached a huge and diverse audience, some weekly episodes heard by up to 14,000 listeners and with a total number of downloads exceeding 650,000. At the same time, we have been served by a dynamic and evolving team of researchers over the years. Not only have they contributed to scholarly knowledge and debate around the world but also in the Nordic region they have worked hard to unite and strengthen the Nordic Asia research community. Aside from research collaboration, each year they have provided academic support, training and lectures to hundreds of students studying Asia.
With the closure of NIAS, all this activity will cease or must find another home. In no way does this mean the end of high-quality Nordic research on Asia but inevitably such a heavy blow to scholarly collaboration and educational attainment will be felt. Likewise, in a time of heightened geopolitical tensions, many of them centred on Asia, the loss of information channels sensitive to Nordic interests is highly regrettable.
A more detailed update on the future of the NIAS core activities will follow soon.