The IORG Vision
The Macquarie Dictionary defines a visionary as "one who is given to novel ideas or schemes which are not immediately practicable" (page 1939). However, in principle, there is nothing overly novel about the Indian Ocean Research Group Inc. (IORG). Rather, as in previous cases, the Group is a response to an important need to provide an over-arching social science policy-focused research umbrella for the Region, and it thus must be seen as evolutionary.

The vision of the Indian Ocean Research Group builds upon two significant earlier attempts to construct a research umbrella for social science policy-oriented research in the Indian Ocean Region - the Indian Ocean Centre for Peace Studies (IOCPS) and the Indian Ocean Centre (IOC). Both of these initiatives were headquartered in Western Australia and both were ably led by Kenneth McPherson, who sadly died in 2010. Despite various setbacks, the spirit and hard work that have gone into making such initiatives and the worthwhile research produced by them over several years will continue to inspire us.

We felt that one of the principal shortcomings of earlier attempts to sustain a regional academic group was that they tended to be focussed on one 'pillar' (India or Australia) and that there was a need to develop a new network built initially on two 'pillars' (India and Australia). With Complementarity, Cooperation, Communication and Collaboration as its key guiding principles, the IORG thus aims to develop a revamped Indian Ocean Regional academic network built on at least two pillars – Panjab University in Chandigarh and the University of Western Australia in Perth. With these two places as the initial nodes subsequent meetings of the Group would take place at different Centres an Institutes at locations around the Indian Ocean Region that would then be added to the emerging network.

The main challenge facing the IORG, of course, is to effectively turn this vision into a reality. In order to achieve this requires a significant degree of regional support. We are especially grateful for the support already provided by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, and by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). We are also grateful for the support provided by Panjab University and by the University of Western Australia. We are especially grateful to Panjab University for allowing us to host the Inaugural Conference in Chandigarh in November 2002. We are equally grateful to various Indian Ocean Regional Governments, Institutes, NGOs and businesses that have helped sponsor meetings since that time, especially BHP-Billiton, the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS) in Iran, the Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA), the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Oman and Osmania University in Hyderabad in India. Above all, however, we are indebted to all of the fine active participants at our meetings and within the Group organisation, since, without a committed functioning regional community of scholars, the IORG vision can never become a reality.
IOR-ARC Status
At the 10th Council of Ministers (COM) Meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), held on 5th August 2010 in Sana'a, Republic of Yemen, the Indian Ocean Research Group (IORG) Inc was granted Observer Status to IOR-ARC more...
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