The coexistence of two social systems and three legal regimes in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area brings forth both advantages and challenges for the region. In view of its developmental needs against the backdrop of the Greater Bay Area, the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) is developing itself into a world centre for tourism and leisure, as well as a platform for commerce between China and Portuguese-speaking countries. Macao also hopes to achieve a measured diversification of its economy, and to become a base for exchange and cooperation that emphasizes Chinese culture while also embracing multiculturalism. In this regard, theoretical and institutional support from humanities and social sciences of a comprehensive and cross-disciplinary nature will be instrumental to all these efforts. The establishment of the IAS is precisely in response to this historic opportunity presented in the in-depth integration and synergy among the cities of the Greater Bay Area. By leveraging the geographical advantage of the Macao SAR, its inclusiveness and Chinese-Western mélange, the IAS will be able to provide Macao with the momentum to prosper through full involvement in the development of and integration into the Greater Bay Area.
Broadly speaking, UM has five faculties in humanities and social sciences at present, covering disciplines such as linguistics, history, literature, philosophy and religious studies, law, economics, management, business, education, communications, sociology, psychology, and politics. These disciplines host over 85% of undergraduates, over 60% of postgraduates, over 65% of the regular faculty members; as well as a total of 23 research units at departmental, faculty and university levels. Noteworthy achievements have been made in the fields of Chinese history and culture, local history of Macao, Portuguese language education, the constitution and the basic law, tourism and gaming management, development of education in Macao, model of economic development, criminology, psychology, and media studies.
The aims behind establishing the IAS is to provide a university-level research platform which goes beyond boundaries among faculties; to foster inter-disciplinary research teams in humanities and social sciences international impact, and to develop strategic plans to facilitate efficient use of monetary and human sources at UM for synergy in humanities and social research. On the one hand, the IAS advances the university’s research in related fields, nurtures young talent, and promotes collaboration between humanities and technology. On the other hand, it also shoulders the responsibility of transferring knowledge back to the community. The IAS aspires to serve as a comprehensive and cross-disciplinary local think tank that generates theories and empirical studies regarding various public policies and social issues of Macao. These efforts intend to help strengthen the sustainable development of Macao and enhance its participation in the development of and integration into the Greater Bay Area.