|2005 Conference Acknowledgement|
The Third International Conference of Institutes & Libraries for Chinese Overseas Studies, Singapore, 2005 with the main theme “Maritime Asia and the Chinese Overseas, 1405–2005” was organized in commemoration of the 600 th Anniversary of Zheng He’s voyages to the South Seas. After 9 months of preparation, the Conference was successfully organized from 18 to 20 August 2005 at the RELC International Hotel, Singapore. The Conference was co-organized by the 13 institutional members of the Inter-Agency Committee on Chinese Overseas Databank and Research, Singapore (Huayinet) and the Ohio University Libraries. Prof Wang Gungwu was the Honorary Advisor and Mr George Yeo, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Singapore was the Patron of the Conference.
There were 23 parallel Conference sessions on the following 8 topics:
a) Zheng He and Maritime Asia (5 sessions)
Included research on sunken ships during the Ming and Qing dynasties, possibility of Zheng He’s voyages passing through Thailand and Philippines, the impact on trade, religion and architecture of Zheng He’s voyages, provisions of the Zheng He’s fleets of about 20,000 people, Confucian thinking and Zheng He’s voyages and motives of Zheng He’s voyages.
b) Migration and Re-migration (3 sessions)
Included analysis of the identities, family stories, network of Chinese overseas
c) Businesses, Trade and Entrepreneurship (4 sessions)
Included development of businesses and trading in Asia and Southeast Asia, their characteristics and impact, and investments of Chinese overseas in China
d) Assimilation, Integration and Chinese Organizations (2 sessions)
Included the adoption of residential countries by Chinese overseas in Southeast Asia and Asia
e) Culture (education, language, religion, gender issues) (4 sessions)
Topics included ancestral worship, educational textbooks, clan associations, Chinese Muslims diaspora, development on language, music and gender identity
f) Political Participation (1 session)
Covered political activities of Chinese overseas in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia
g) Institutions, Libraries and Documentation (3 sessions)
Covered resources on Zheng He in the Library of Congress, print, electronic, databases and library services on Chinese overseas in China, Japan and the USA
h) Traditional Chinese Medicine (1 session)
Covered the historical development and practices of Chinese medicine in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia
The Conference sessions were conducted in English and Chinese, including one Zheng He session in Malay. In addition, there were 5 public lectures delivered by renowned scholars.
The Conference was a gathering of scholars from the East and the West. A total of 260 speakers and participants attended the Conference, of which 58% of the participants were from Singapore and 42% from overseas i.e. China (21) including Taiwan (5) and Hong Kong (9), Singapore (148), Malaysia (8), Thailand (2), Indonesia (17), Philippines (2), Myanmar (1), Japan (12), Korea (1), Australia (9), Belgium (1), Canada (1), the USA (22) and the Netherlands (1). All the 23 parallel Conference sessions were well attended. The Conference Organizing Committee plans to publish the Conference Proceedings.