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At this time in our society, the norms and values that have supported conventional systems are experiencing disruptions. It has even been pointed out that our civilization is in crisis. Furthermore, the development of society and economy and the expansion of globalization are diversifying and magnifying the crisis. Therefore, it has become a global issue to deal with it.With such a societal demand setting the stage, Rikkyo University set up the Graduate School of Social Design Studies in April 2002 as a venue to envisage a grand design for civil society in the 21st century and to cultivate human resources as practitioners. The School’s research and education goals include in particular identifying and studying the ideas and knowledge needed to create genuinely symbiotic society based on the principle of human rights, and not just limited to the skills necessary to manage society.



So, what are the issues that must be urgently addressed in envisaging a design for civil society in the 21st century? We at the Graduate School of Social Design Studies focus on a series of issues related to “non-profit activities/organizations” and “crisis management of civilized society,” two subjects that have been all but neglected and accordingly not addressed and studied specifically, despite the fact that many people have felt their significance. In order to address these issues, we decided that emphasis must be placed on “organizational network” as our methodological perspective. The current situation in the fields of non-profit organization studies and crisis management studies is that, while a large amount of experiential and tacit knowledge has been accumulated, the construction of the edifice of such knowledge has been extensively delayed, even though its need has been noted. As a result, unfortunately, relevant policy formulation and system establishment have not sufficiently advanced. In the world of academia, research in these fields has just begun. In the future, it will be necessary to establish the edifice of knowledge in those fields and develop it into one to be shared and used in policy formation, in cooperation with various entities throughout society.



Envisaging a grand design for civil society in the 21st century is easier said than done. How can we use various ideas and positions, which differ from and sometimes may conflict with one another, as the seeds to create civil society? In my opinion, it is essential to create a place for these discussions, where frank exchanges of views, not only within academia, but with those at all rungs of society are conducted, as well as to provide a place for relevant, sustainable research. With this in mind, we found it necessary to establish Japanese Academy of Social Design Studies for the 21st Century, in which a large number of members, not only from academia but also from society as a whole, can participate, with an eye on potential collaboration with overseas research institutes and universities. We hope that the Academy, through its activities, facilitates the integration of a variety of knowledge and creates a wide network of knowledge, which is open to the world, in the new academic arena of social design studies where a wide range of scholars and practitioners contribute. Your active participation would be much appreciated.

(Translated by Keitaro Morita)

Statement of Purpose

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