Facing the Challenges of the 21st Century with a Globally Connected Academia
The Katekisama program is a new model of academic collaboration between the Universities of Basel (Switzerland), Bonn (Germany) and Waseda University, Tokyo (Japan). The program offers young scholars and senior researchers an original and dynamic platform of interdisciplinary, cooperative education and research that enables them to critically explore and analyze today’s global realities. The scholars and PhD students benefit from the excellence, experience and global expertise of all three institutions in the social sciences and humanities, and from their new and exclusive forms of academic mobility.
The three partner institutions generate intellectual and practical synergies that lead to an internationalization of their academic curricula. They share their major contributions to knowledge, offered as ‘global commons’, in the form of exclusive signature courses with the aim of offering globally networked expertise to create visions, ideas and roadmaps for a better future world.
Katekisama refers to Erasmus of Rotterdam’s journey around the world, the transformation of global knowledge and the importance of new directions in future academic cooperation. The Universities of Basel, Bonn and Waseda want to contribute to a new understanding of academic education by promoting a visionary concept of knowledge as a crucial part of what we call ‘global commons’, i.e. the essential resources and goods whose global availability will shape the future of the 21st century.
Katekisama is a wooden sculpture of Erasmus of Rotterdam from the 16th century. The sculpture, today in the National Museum in Tokyo, was attached to the stern of the ship De Liefde, which was the first Dutch ship to land in Japan in the year 1600. For centuries the mysterious sculpture was kept in a Buddhist monastery, its origin forgotten and its meaning interpreted in many different ways, be it as a Chinese god, a bogeyman or a missionary.
Katekisama symbolizes global connections and the importance of intellectual exchange. As a global hybrid, the figure illustrates the development of a new direction in the social sciences and humanities: it stands for a new global competence in academic education and research and for the innovative potential and unifying power of scientific exchange and universities over many centuries. Katekisama thus shows a path of humanitarian universalism across all kinds of borders.
The program produces a dynamic platform of exchange along three modes of collaboration:
Global PhD Education
The doctoral training ensures the regular exchange of PhD students between the partner institutions in order to strengthen and refine their interdisciplinary and international profile. The graduate programs (or similar structures) ensure the integration of students at each of the partner institutions.
This novel format of international academic education provides for each partner institution to offer a signature course each year for one of the other partner institutions, which is then repeated the following year for the remaining partner institution. The signature course demonstrates in a paradigmatic way the global expertise and research profile of the respective institutions.
Fellowships from the partner universities address scholars in the middle of their career (PostDocs, assistant professors etc.). With the fellowships, the program intends to rethink global academic mobility in the real and the virtual space and to make the digital exchange productive for future forms of scientific collaboration.