UPIASI has been administering the selection process of the ASIA Fellows Program, an inter-Asian scholarly exchange program covering South Asia, Southeast Asia and China, in South Asia since 1999, on contract with the Asian Scholarship Foundation, Bangkok, terminating in 2012 with the end of the program. The ASIA Fellowships are awarded to scholars and others (public intellectuals, policy makers) who specialize in the study of other Asian countries, to spend 6-9 months doing research in another Asian country. India has been the biggest beneficiary of this Program to date and the Program has helped to create a large pool of Indian scholars who have fieldwork experience and exposure to other Asian countries. UPIASI has helped organize the ASIA Fellows alumni in India into an association, now registered as the Association of Asia Scholars (AAS), and helped organize five alumni conferences on various themes in Asian studies with partner organizations. These are:
(i) The Landscape of Asian Integration, January 2008, Delhi with the Ministry of External Affairs;
(ii) Urban Poverty and Governance in Asia, January 2008, with India International Centre;
(iii) Sustainable Development: Challenges for Asian Societies, November 2008, Patiala, with Punjabi University, Patiala, Indian Council of Social Science Research, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Department of Science and Technology, and Sage Publications, whose papers will be published in an edited volume by Routledge in early 2010 (Sucha Singh Gill, Lakhwinder Singh and Reena Marwah, eds., Economic and Environmental Sustainability of the Asian Region, Routledge India Originals series);
(iv) Climate Change and Food Security in Asia, Jaipur, June 2009, with Ministry of Environment;
(v) Emerging China: Prospects for Partnership in Asia, November 2009, Delhi, with Indian Council of World Affairs.
(vi) Peace, Security and Development in South Asia, March 2011, Patiala, with Punjabi University.
The Academic Director/Chief Executive, UPIASI, is active as an Adviser to the AAS in all its activities. A bi-annual journal, Millenial Asia, has been launched by AAS and the Academic Director/Chief Executive is on the editorial advisory board. In the period, 2006-2007 to 2009-10, UPIASI built on the wide networks of scholars in Asian studies all over Asia, particularly in South Asia, including close to 300 alumni Fellows, to develop synergies with its projects on International Relations Theory and South Asia, and Coalition Politics and Democratic Consolidation in Asia, and intends to continue to leverage the network built for future projects. UPIASI has also managed to secure the interest of an Indian donor, Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust, in supporting 5 ASIA Fellowships a year with a 3-year grant of Rs. 15 million, which are directly disbursed to the selected Fellows by UPIASI from 2008 instead of being routed through ASF, Bangkok.