Systems East and West: An International Project

IFSR 1998 Newsletter Vol. 17 No. 3/4 December
A new project, Systems East and West, was recently launched at the ICSSSE’98 (International Conference of Systems Science and Systems Engineering 1998, Beijing). The
project is intended to provide an international forum for promoting mutual learning and cooperation between researchers in the East and the West in the field of systems research and practice. The co-ordination of the project will be based on the Lincoln School of Management, United Kingdom.
The project can be seen as logical development of a pilot project conducted by systems
researchers from China, Japan and the UK during the period of 1995 – 1997. The pilot
project has supported around twenty international visits, organised three international
workshops, published three proceeding as well as tens of articles in international journals, edited books and conference proceedings. It has also given birth to an Oriental systems methodology, involved in several real world programmes such as regional social-economic development strategy planning in China, developing a water-resources management and decision support system, evaluating organisational and project performances in China and the UK, formulating a business automation standard system for China’s National Internal Trading Department, researching in China’s labour market reform, proposing a computerised model for environmental management in Japan, creating a disaster monitoring and decreasing system in China and Japan, etc. The pilot project has received financial supports from the Chinese Academy of Science, the Chinese National Natural Sciences Foundation, the Institute of Systems Science (China), the Royal Society of Science (UK), the Centre of Systems Studies (Hull), the Lincoln School of Management, The Japan Institute of Systems Research, the Konan University (Japan), the Kansai Research Foundation for Technology Promotion (Japan) and some other Japanese industrial organisations.
Based on our collective experiences, we are convinced that mutual learning and support
among Western and Eastern systems researchers are not only necessary and desirable, but also feasible and viable. It is also our belief that international co-operation in
systems research and systems practice will have an increasingly significant role to play at the time when humankind faces and interconnected challenges of the 21st century.
The first programme in Beijing
The general project will have at least one major joint programme each year. The first such programme was held in Beijing via the main stream in the ISCCE’98. Focusing at the theme Systems Methodology East and West, participants from China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan,
England, Sweden and the Netherlands presented their research and experiences in the
real world project. More papers were submitted for discussion from Australia, Ireland and the United States. Presentation topics included not only diverse methodologies from the East as well as the West, but also comparative analysis of cultural imprints and the searching for synergy between Western and Eastern methodologies. An edited book based on the stream papers is now under preparation.
Plan for the Year 2000 and beyond
Encouraged by the fruitfulness of the first programme on Beijing 1998, participants and a
productive discussion on the activity plan for the next few years. It is proposed and agreed that subsequent major programmes of the project will be held respectively in England (1999). Japan (2000) and Korea (2001). The 1999 programme, which will take place via the 6th UKSS International Conference in the Lincoln School of Management, University of Lincolnshire and Humberside, UK, will focus on the theme Systems Thinking for the 21st Century. It is our desire that, at the decisive time that connects the present and the new millennium, such a theme will challenge and help systems researchers to make collective contributions in assisting humankind to address and improve their unprecedented situation. Given the dynamic transitions in real world situations and
rapid developments in systems research/practice, delegates agree to leave the themes for the 2000 and the 2001 programmes unfixed, which will be explored and decided in the 1999 meeting.
Dr. Zhichang Zhu
Lincoln School Management
Lincoln, LN6 7TS, United Kingdom
Tel.: +44-1533-886335
Fax: +44-1522-886032

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