Objectives for IRIS

Among global humanity, it is clear that scope for intercultural exchanges has expanded enormously in recent year, generating increasing opportunities for sharing of information, languages and technological innovations which may eventually lead to rise of a single global culture. At same time, there is widespread evidence that in an era of increasing globalization, human cultures are becoming ever more more diversified, and that collective local identities are still highly important. There identities are often based in the notion that shared cultural traditions are inherited from ancestral populations. Supporting local cultural diversity in an era of increasing global connectivity represents both a challenge and an opportunity, particularly for indigenous peoples.
Efforts to maintain cultural diver cultural diversity therefor needs to be understood in long-term perspectives, through focus on local case studies that are embedded within regional and global contexts. These efforts can generate a firmer knowledge base for taking some of the pressing contemporary issues faced by local indigenous communities. To ensure that insights from academic research and debate can be integrated into local solutions, it is important to undertake comparative research into the origins of contemporary human cultural diversity, and the ways in which it can supported for future generations.
This project runs for five years and aims to investigate what drives and sustains past and present cultural diversity in global human society, with a central focus on the role of indigenous cultural traditions, and on indigenous historical and cultural heritage. It is led from the Center for for Ainu & Indigenous Studies at Hokkaido University in Japan, and incudes partner institutions in Europe, North America, Asia and Oceania. Through workshops, coordinated research activities and extensive international exchanges efforts we will make progress on key issues and train a new generation of researchers via the establishment of new academic exchange and mentoring system that involves both Japanese and overseas research institutes.


Collaborative Research

Collaborative research 1: History of cultural diversity and Indigeneity
Collaborative research 2: Migration, adaptation and integration as human cultural behavior


We hold seminars to discuss two collaborative researches from multifaceted perspective at oversea research institutions. In this moment, the issues of cultural diversity can be approached from various disciplines academic fields such as archeology, ecological anthropology, cultural anthropology, bio-anthropology, cultural heritage, so on. In this project, we will try to develop cross-disciplinary discussion at each seminar in the context of indigenous studies. We also organize independent sessions focusing on young researchers, and provide opportunities for young researchers to resent research proposal and its results.

International Exchange for Researchers

In this project, we invite outstanding world-level scholars to Japan, and hold International workshops. We also provide opportunities for Japanese researchers to stay at overseas institutions and promote research exchange.
We will position the dispatch program specialized for young researchers as the core of our main target and create opportunities to get advice from outstanding scholars. Furthermore, in collaboration with overseas institutes, we will establish a International joint education program to train young researchers and to develop international young researchers who choose research fields in Japan.