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York Centre for Asian Research Updates                    Issue 54, Friday, July 28, 2006


In this issue

YCAR Student Award

 YCAR to offer language training award in Winter 2007
  Call for Proposals  Comparative Analysis of Language Assessment Tools

IDRC Internship Awards

 IDRC invites applications to its Internship Awards

Asia Job Posting

 ICRW seeks Regional Technical Advisor on HIV/AIDs in India

Asia Times News

 World War III - What, Me Worry? By Chan Akya

YCAR to offer language award in Winter 2007

The York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) will be offering in Winter 2007 a language award to support York graduate students who are registered for the Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies (GDAS) administered by YCAR. The award is open to local and international students who are enrolled in GDAS at York and who are interested to learn a specific Asian language to appreciate and better understand the context and perspectives relating to their area of research study. Detailed information will be provided in Fall 2006. For the meantime, information on the David Wurfel and Albert Chan Awards for Fall 2006 and Winter 2007 are already available on the YCAR website.


Call for Proposals: Comparative Analysis of Language Assessment Tools

Canada will rely more on immigrants as a major source of population and labour force growth as our population ages and the rate of labour force growth slows and eventually begins to decline. Immigration currently accounts for more than 70% of the net growth in the Canadian labour force. It is expected to account for all net labour force growth within the next 10 years and for all population growth within the next 25 years. In order to participate in the social and economic life in Canada, newcomers need to be able to communicate adequately in the language used in their community and work environment. In particular research indicates that a key to successful labour market integration is the ability to communicate effectively in the workplace. Using and understanding appropriate technical language at CLB/NCLC level 8, which is considered to be the minimum requirement in today's knowledge economy. The average immigrant has a higher education level than the average Canadian born, but does not have the language skills in either English or French to be able to use their other skills optimally. Increasing current levels of language training would help realize the human capital gained through immigration. In order to participate more fully in a wider range of contexts and function independently in educational, social and employment settings, higher levels of language skills are required.

With this Call for Proposals, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) invites proposals to compare and assess for usage, the two higher-level language assessment tools (CLB 7-10), the Workplace Language Assessment (WLA) and the Enhanced Language Training Placement Assessment (ELTPA), that have been developed for the purpose of placement of immigrants into labour market level language training classes and employment bridging programs. The proponent would be responsible for undertaking all activities towards development, implementation and reporting with respect to the comparative analysis of the two assessment tools.

ELT project outputs are expected to contribute to short, intermediate and final client outcomes. Short term outcomes that are directly linked to ELT include access to and completion of ELT language training and the achievement of higher levels of job-specific language ability. Intermediate outcomes would move clients along the continuum from having received and successfully completed ELT language training to entering and remaining in the labour market at levels commensurate with their skills and qualifications. Final outcomes that are often subject to influences beyond funded projects, and are at a more strategic level would include the acceptance and engagement of newcomers in Canadian life and the benefits that Canadian society would gain from the contribution and participation of newcomers.

If you require any additional information, please contact: Stephanie Peck, Program Advisor / Conseillère de programmes 613-948-3060 | facsimile / télécopieur 613-954-9144 Stephanie.Peck@cic.gc.ca National Headquarters / Administration centrale Citizenship and Immigration Canada | 300 Slater Street Ottawa ON K1A 1L1.

Deadline: August 9th, 2006. Link: http://atwork.settlement.org/sys/atwork_library_detail.asp?doc_id=1004073.


IDRC invites applications to its Internship Awards

internshipinternet.jpgThe IDRC Internship awards provide exposure to research for international development through a program of training in research management and grant administration under the guidance of IDRC program staff. The internship is designed to provide hands-on learning experiences in research program management - in the creation, dissemination and utilization of knowledge from an international perspective.
The intern will undertake a program of research on the topic submitted when competing for the internship award, and will be trained in the techniques of research management through hands-on experience with the Centre's policies and practices for grant administration under the mentorship of a Program Officer(s).

Program: Internships will be considered for a program of training and research responding to IDRC’s research priorities. IDRC’s research activities focus on four Program Areas: Social and Economic Policy, Environmental and Natural Resources Management, Information and Communication Technologies for Development, and Innovation, Policy and Science. The intern will undertake a program of research on the topic submitted when competing for the Internship during a part (often around 50% ) of their time and will be trained in the techniques of research management through hands-on work experience with their chosen program’s programming and practices. They will work under the mentorship of a Program Officer(s).

Duration: Internships are tenable for a minimum of 4 months and a maximum of 12 months at IDRC headquarters in Ottawa or in a Regional Office. Developing country nationals residing in their home country (or another country) must hold their internships in the appropriate Regional Office.

Number of Awards: Approximately fourteen

Employment Status: Interns doing their internship in Canada will receive a salary in a range from $33,201 to $38,434 per year*, depending on qualifications and experience. They will be considered as full-time term employees of the Centre. Benefits include contributions to Employment Insurance, Employer Health Tax and the Canada Pension Plan and 4 per cent in lieu of vacation leave. Some travel and research expenses will also be supported, up to a maximum of $10,000. The salary range and benefits for interns located in the Regional Offices will vary according to regional conditions. No allowance for relocation is provided. * Salary scale is currently under review

Eligibility: The program is aimed at candidates who, through demonstrated achievements in academic studies, work or research, have shown interest in the creation and utilization of knowledge from an international perspective. Candidates can be Canadians, permanent residents, or citizens of developing countries, who are either currently registered in a Master's Program or have completed a Master's Degree already. Candidates need not be affiliated with an institution. They may participate in internships as part of an academic requirement.

Selection: IDRC staff will review the applications and select successful candidates.

Deadlines: Deadline for receipt of applications: 12 September 2006 (awards to be announced by the end of November 2006). Commencement of awards: January 2007. For more info, visit the IDRC website at www.idrc.ca.


ICRW seeks Regional Technical Advisor on HIV/AIDS in India

The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), a private, non-profit organization that conducts policy-oriented research focusing on gender and development issues seeks a Regional Technical Advisor, HIV/AIDS to contribute to strategic business development, cultivate partnerships with relevant donors and NGOs, and secure donor funds to build ICRW’s HIV/AIDS program portfolio in India and other South Asian countries.

The Regional Technical Advisor will also provide technical support to ICRW’s HIV/AIDS projects in India, foster innovation in study design and implementation, strengthen the technical and analytical skills of staff and partners and contribute to dissemination of ICRW’s key research findings and promising practices to various audiences. 30% travel within India and 10% travel within South Asia will be required.

The ideal candidate will have a Ph.D. in a related discipline (Public Health, Social Sciences, etc.) and seven (7) to ten (10) years’ experience in gender and HIV/AIDS programming in India and/or in the sub-region, to include technical expertise in one or several areas addressing the gender and HIV/AIDS interface (e.g., stigma and violence, asset security, new prevention technologies) as well as demonstrated experience in designing, implementing and evaluating gender and HIV/AIDS studies and programs and working with complex partnerships related to these programs. Demonstrated experience in program fundraising in India and/or South Asia, including knowledge of principals and practices governing USAID and/or other US government grant programs (e.g. Centers for Disease Control) and a proven track record of working successfully with bilateral and multilateral funding sources as well as with private foundations and other donors is required.

Strong analytical skills are required, with the ability to conceptualize, analyze, synthesize lessons learned, and document results in publications. Computer proficiency required to include a strong working knowledge of standard business applications (e.g., MS Office Suite) as well recognized statistical packages (STATA, SPSS, Atlas TI).

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, a short writing sample and salary requirements to: Human Resources at jobs@icrw.org. Please indicate “RTA-HIV/AIDS” in the subject line of the email. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. For more info on ICRW, visit their website at http://www.icrw.org/ and for other opportunities abroad, visit the Communication Initiative website at http://www.comminit.com/vacancies.html.


World War III - what, me worry? Part 1, By Chan Akya, Asia Times Online, July 25, 2006

Cover of The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World OrderSam Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations is now being made operational in the Middle East, thanks to the neo-conservatives' vision of the West triumphing over Islam. The end game that most right-wing observers look to now is a conflagration that sees the West take on Islam, supported by a coalition of willing allies in Africa and Asia. Meanwhile, Islam counts on its army of the faithful to lend support. Be that as it may, I believe that both the West and Islam overestimate their hold on, if not their importance to, the Chinese and Hindu civilizations. The prospect of World War III, rather than forcing them to choose sides, is more likely to cause policy paralysis, despite the fact that both India and China stand to benefit from the conflagration. While it is in their interest to cause an outright war between the two sides, they are more likely to engage in navel-gazing.

Neither the West nor Islam has covered itself with glory as far as China and India are concerned. While the Chinese would consider the West as hurting it more particularly in the past 100 years, for India the balance tilts more against Islam. This observation is more pertinent when seeing the eventual place the two societies envisage for themselves in the world. It is interesting to note that while their philosophies are different, the basic outcome has been the same, namely that both China and India were splendidly isolated from the rest of the world in the heyday of their civilizations. There is little moral justification for either country to support the West or Islam.

Early Indian and Chinese explorers found little to occupy them in their journeys outside of their countries. The contact between Chinese and Indian cultures led to the export of Buddhism from India. In a study of Buddhism's reach, we can gauge how the two cultures would react to a changing world.

The India that Prince Gautam was born into was dominated by the Hindu system, albeit one run by the principles of Manu, rather than the more egalitarian Vedic culture. The doctrine of Manu was a product of the Aryan conquest of the ancient peoples of India, including the Dravidians in the south of the country. In this world, with its multifaceted rituals and barbaric animal sacrifices, the arrival of Buddhism portended substantial changes. The language of the ruling classes, Sanskrit, was quickly subsumed by the language of Buddhism, Pali.

As the first great emperor of India, Ashok, converted to Buddhism, ancient Hindu culture suffered its first real shock in 1,000 years. The response was revolutionary more than evolutionary, with the country's ruling classes quickly removing public practices forbidden in Buddhism, such as animal sacrifices. The kinder, gentler culture that arose from this period did not have to wait long for its turn to revenge. The ascetic principles of Buddhism were simply incompatible with running a large country that was already a melting point for various races. This failure to impose discipline was to cost Ashok's followers dearly, ending the dynasty barely 100 years after his death.

Still, the damage to Hindu culture was done. With a weaker resolve at the center, regional kingdoms became more powerful, in a development that was not to reverse for 1,000 years. That left the individual kingdoms more vulnerable to the onslaught of a new group of invaders from the West, namely Islam. As smaller kingdoms quickly crumbled against the onslaught of Islam, Hindus took refuge behind the apparently cosmetic differences. They were also helped by the historical fact that while Islam unites in times of defeat, victory is often fatal for Muslims.

Thus it is that from the 9th through the 13th centuries Islamic conquerors of northern Indian states usually found themselves under siege from their co-religionists. The most famous battle of all during the period featured the Mughal leader Babur against a Muslim ruler, Ibrahim Lodi, on the other side of Panipat. Furthermore, to pay for the various battles, Muslim rulers had to impose various taxes on their populations. I believe this was the main reason for their lack of enthusiasm in converting the Hindu population to Islam. The second reason was of course the ultimate in scorched-earth policies that history has ever known, namely the mass incidents of sati (female suicides) in kingdoms that Muslims conquered. In any event, Islam left alive a culture that would in future pose a great threat.

Buddhism also weakened the patriarchal Chinese culture, but did provide a benefit in that it acted to homogenize cultural practices across the country. Thus people in southern China could relate to their northern cousins more than previously was possible, because of the role of Buddhist monasteries and temples. The common schools for monks, in Tibet and other places, provided China with its first glimpse of mystic as against practical religion.

The key development in China's history, though, was under the Emperor Qin, who unified the country through substantial warfare combined with a common language. The resulting monolith of an empire was able to shrug off the Muslim warlords from Central Asia with relative ease, particularly when compared with the problems that a splintered India down south faced. For this reason, Islam generally treated China and its culture with grudging respect, quite unlike its view of other cultures.

This state of affairs remained for a long time, until the West gained enough technical mastery of weapons first developed by China to take on the Chinese empire. It is at this point that China's relative insularity was to go against the country - a failure to observe and learn from the decline of Hindu civilization against Islam. The Western conquest of China followed a pattern similar to that of India's decline, namely gradual wars in the periphery that weakened central authority, finally culminating in an assault across the country.

There are today not enough Christians or Muslims in China to push the country in the direction of supporting either the West or Islam in any global conflagration. However, a resurgent West poses more of a threat to China's patriarchal culture, which is not very different from the centralized authority-driven culture of Islam. Given that, it is more likely that China would tilt toward supporting Islam, as its weapons-proliferation efforts over the past few years have shown.

The missile used by Hezbollah this month to sink an Israeli ship was an Iranian variant of a Chinese Silkworm; similar ancestries can be established for many of the medium- and long-range weapons currently in the hands of Islamic tyrants. It is also noteworthy that the only working nuclear weapons in the Islamic world belong to Pakistan, and are almost entirely reverse-engineered from actual Chinese bombs. This leads me to conclude that an escalation of the conflict in the Middle East would eventually necessitate the West to demand adequate support from China, failing which the country itself could become a target. The waxworks of Beijing are likely to grant enough concessions to the West to avoid being attacked, and then lie in wait for their revenge.

The Indian situation is more precarious. While much of the country's right-wing intelligentsia would push it to war against Islam, there is enough of a fifth column in place to thwart the country's historic quest for vengeance. India's Muslims number more than any other country's in the world with the exception of Indonesia. Add to these the populations of both Pakistan and Bangladesh, and Indian military might is in essence boxed in.

Neither the Indian air force nor the army can offer much assistance to the West. The only aspect of Indian military that the West may benefit from is also its least developed one, namely the Indian navy. I do not see the likelihood of India playing any role in a direct confrontation between Islam and the West, and therefore it is more likely that it sits on the sidelines waiting for the West to do its job.

Part 2: China and India in World War III. (Copyright 2006 Asia Times Online Ltd.).


York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR). For further information, contact ycar@yorku.ca
Ste. 270 York Lanes, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3. Web: www.yorku.ca/ycar.