In the previous fiscal year, the Fund conducted a one-year pilot project entitled 'The Analysis of the Middle East Islamic Countries'. In Japan, there has been growing interest in the situation in the Middle East following the Arab Spring, and there is a pressing need to achieve a proper understanding of future developments in this area. Accordingly, the Fund has hosted a lecture series at which Middle Eastern experts active on the front line of their studies are invited from the UK, US, Russia, Asia and elsewhere to provide a global viewpoint on the subject. A great deal of interest was shown in the pilot project, and a large number of people took part, especially given that similar projects are seldom to be found. In light of the success of the pilot project, the Fund will conduct a three year project from this year on.
This year, experts active on the front line of security guarantees and international economy will be invited from the US, Australia and Asia to take part in a lecture entitled 'The Changing Political Situation in the Islamic Middle East'. The speakers will provide the people of Japan with information and analyses of trends relevant to the political situation in the Middle East from a global standpoint and using a diverse range of approaches. Moreover, the invited guests will take part in a private lecture aimed at young researchers from Japan. Through these discussions between young researchers from Japan and invited guests with knowledge and experience related to Middle Eastern countries, the Fund aims to increase comprehension of the situation in the Middle East in the post-Arab Spring era and thereby expand future prospects in this area.