The Asian region has been the engine of the global economy for a few decades. According to the “Global Economic Prospects Report” released by the World Bank recently, the Asian economy would be the only highlight in the coming year, while the global economic outlook is going downward. The report indicates that global cross-border economic integration is experiencing a reversal trend, and a warning of long-term stagnation in the global economy has been issued. In the face of global economic turmoil and uncertainty, Asian development has attracted wide attention. Asia is considered a potential growth engine for the global economy, and its prosperity is expected to bring spillover effects to global economic development.
Compared to its rich and good practices, the existing studies are not so adequate to explain the rich experience and good practices in this region. Over the past 3-4 decades, there has been a good number of accounts of the successes in this region, including Asian Development (1987), the Eastern Asian Miracle (1993), Emerging Asia (1997), Rethinking the Eastern Asian Miracle (2001), How Asia Works (2013), Asian Transformation (2019), Resurgent Asia (2019), Asia’s Journey to Prosperity (2020). Almost all these studies, however, have attributed the successes in Asia to neo-liberalism. If this is the case, why not other regions? Therefore, there must be some other factors for the successes in Asia, which call for fresh eyes on its development.
Besides such a knowledge gap, the Asian region has also faced increasingly complex challenges ahead such as the climate changes, the growing geo-political tension as well as digital transformation. To maintain the Asian prosperity, therefore, we have to generalize theoretically more from our own region’s experience and work together to cope with the challenges ahead.
- To facilitate learning from our own historical practices in this region;
- To push back the boundaries of knowledge in modernization and development;
- To inform the sustainable development in this region in changing contexts.
We believe that existing knowledge is insufficient to fully explain the various successful cases in the region or is not adequate to guide the way ahead in a changing and complex era. The International Forum as well as the related research programme aim to facilitate knowledge production and dissemination in this region based on local practices in various and changing contexts. It provides a platform for local scholars and practitioners to exchange new ideas and explore new solutions to global and regional challenges and problems.c