The Slovenia Times

'East Asia Research Library Day' emphasizes the importance of high-quality knowledge

Science & EducationSpotlight

Members of the East Asia Research Library (EARL) held the 1st official EARL Day as part of the 100th Anniversary of the University of Ljubljana celebrations. Since its establishment as a central reference point for researchers of East Asian languages and cultures, EARL has brought together scholars with different backgrounds from the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Arts.

This official gathering at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts attracted numerous students, scholars, representatives of various education and research institutions like the Confucius Institute, as well as business people and other interested parties. The participants held lectures and took part in lively discussions on many political, scientific, commercial, economic, cultural and educational topics relating to the various aspects of East Asia research.

The EARL Day had three official objectives. First, to present the book Processes and Re-lations in East Asia, co-authored by initiators of EARL and pioneers of East Asia Studies in Slovenia; second, to reflect on the past and present work in the field of East Asian studies in Slovenia; and, third, to elaborate on the role of EARL in the future ambition of the University of Ljubljana to become one of the international hubs for research and accumulation of knowledge about East Asia.

The opening speeches were delivered by Professor Igor Papič, Rector of the University of Ljubljana, Professor Monika Kalin Golob, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and Professor Roman Kuhar, Dean of the Faculty of Arts. The first part of the program that followed showcased the beginnings of East Asia research in Slovenia by the founders of the Department of Asian Studies at the Faculty of Arts. Lectures and discussions by contributors to the presented book touched upon the many interpretations of the status of China in the 21st century and its impact on regional and world politics, future prospects in the changing international society, advancements in technology, and possible business opportunities for Slovenian companies in the region.

Following up on the business angle, in the afternoon the scholars were joined by repre-sentatives of the Slovenian business community with vast experience in East Asian mar-kets. Tomi Ilijaš from the company Arctur stressed that for a small company from a small country, there are both advantages and disadvantages to conducting business in East Asia. In this aspect, the most important issue for Arctur was finding the right market niche and growing slowly, organically. Other important factors include high quality of products and services, and high level of technology, while knowledge of the local culture and mastery of the local language are truly priceless. This is why many of Arctur hires have a PhD degree in Social Sciences.

According to Miran Skender from the Slovenia-Japan Business Council, the biggest op-portunities for Slovenia are to be found in Japan and South Korea. In particular, Japan's Society 5.0 development initiative can also become a framework for intergovernmental economic cooperation. Skender believes that this should foremost be an invitation for Japanese companies to bring their investments and business to Slovenia. For proof of what is possible with such cooperation, look no further than the successful case of Yaskawa, one of Japan's biggest robotics companies, which built one of its centers in the Slovenian town of Kočevje.

Stojan Petrič from the company Kolektor had many stories about the differences in the cultures and business environments of South Korea, China and Japan. However, one universal piece of advice he had for brands and companies who want to be successful in East Asia was: be patient. To successfully compete with the overwhelming popularity and desirability of the biggest international brands, brands and companies entering East Asia must establish trust with local consumers and companies.


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