Friday, 30 May 2003

Bangkok (Fides Service) – To mark Communications Day 2003, the Asian Research Centre for Religion and Social Communications has a new director, a new review, new cultural initiatives. The Catholic centre located in Bangkok, opened by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference in 1999, is fully active since 2000.
In a recent meeting of the Centre’s administration council Thai professor Kirti Bunchua was appointed new director. Kirti Bunchua aged 74 is dean of the faculty of philosophy and religious studies at the Saint John University, one of Thailand’s two Catholic colleges, he has years of experience of teaching social communications and philosophy. His lessons are followed by thousands of students and his more recent studies concern the affect of the media on Buddhism.
Initiatives undertaken by the Centre to mark this year’s Communications’ Day include the publication of the first issue of Religion and Social Communications review. The review will be published twice yearly and carry articles by organisations, universities, research centres in all Asia and the rest of the world. The first issue, 100 pages, includes articles by Father Franz Jozef Eilers of the Philippines’ School of Catholic Theology; Reverend Kim Min Soo of Sogang University in South Korea; Prof. Keval Kumar of Pune University (India); Prof. Ely Gomez and Prof. Stella Tirol of Los Banos University in the Philippines. The magazine also contains extracts of recent university theses on Religion and Social Communications.
The Centre also announced its second international Conference on Media and Globalisation, organised in collaboration with Saint John University. The Conference will take place in Bangkok, in December 15 and 16, will reflect on “Cultural Diversity: global communication and local interaction” and the effects of new technology on traditional Asian cultures.
The Directors of the Asian Research Centre for Religion and Social Communications underlines the importance of the Church’s involvement in the field of social communications, especially in this era of widespread high technology. The Directors say the Church must be effectively present in the field of communication in order to carry her message with the means proper to this century.
The Asian Research Centre for Religion and Social Communications has relations and affiliations with a number of study centres: Saint John University and Assumption University in Thailand; the University of the Philippines and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines; University of Madras (India); the World Association of Christian Communication and Communicatio Socialis Centres in Britain and Germany. PA (Fides Service 30/5/2003 EM lines 39 Words: 475)