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The Pan Pacific Association of Applied Linguistics (PAAL) was established in 1996 through the collaborative efforts of Waseda University and Korea University. The initial title of the association was the Waseda-Korea University English Teaching and Psycholinguistics Association. The purpose of the association was to foster academic exchange between Waseda and Korea University. The goal of PAAL was to provide an excellent opportunity for cooperation in disseminating new and current research in the fields of applied linguistics and English education.

The association held its first colloquium at Korea University. The colloquium was to provide a platform for scholarly research. The papers presented at the first colloquium emphasized not only the importance of English acquisition and teaching but also its increasing role as an auxiliary language in both Korea and Japan. The colloquiums have since become an annual event. The second colloquium was held the following year at Waseda University. At the second colloquium more emphasis was placed on the performative aspect of language learning and teaching.

In 1998, what began as a small scale colloquium grew into a full-fledged academic conference. In light of these developments, the name of the association was changed to the Japan-Korea Association of Applied Linguistics to reflect the growth and expansion of the interests of the association. The 3rd conference was held at Songkonghoe University in Korea. In depth studies on English acquisition, application of grammatical theory to English education, Universal Grammar and pedagogy in teaching communicative functions and speech acts in the classroom were some of the strands of research that were presented.

The 4th conference was a turning point for the association. The 4th conference was held in conjunction with AILA 99 in Tokyo Japan. At this time, the name of the association was once again changed from the Japan/Korea Association of Applied Linguistics to the Pan Pacific Association of Applied Linguistics due to the growing number of international participants and members. Scholars from countries such as the U.S., Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and Australia joined PAAL. Papers presented at the 4th conference showcased the applications of English language teaching research in diverse contexts.

The 5th conference was held at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. Over 100 scholars participated in this event. A wide range of current topics such as computer-based language teaching and cross-cultural language learning were introduced. The 5th conference showed the potential PAAL possesses for becoming one of the leading academic associations in the world.

The 6th conference was held at Cheju National University in Cheju, Korea. Conference attendees from all over the world came together for this event. Eminent scholars gave keynote addresses on topics ranging from English curriculum to World Englishes. The 7th conference is slated to be held at the Regional English Language Center (RELC) in Singapore in conjunction with AILA 02. This will be the first time the conference will be held in an Asian country other than Japan or Korea. Over 100 scholars from more than 10 countires are expected to participate in this international conference. Invited guest speakers will include Jack C. Richards, Hon-Min Sohn, and Teresa Pica.

Now, PAAL has over 400 members from countries all around the world. The Journal of PAAL, which is published twice a year, is indexed in the ERIC and LLBA databases. The Editorial Board of the Journal of PAAL boasts such distinguished members as Robert Bley-Vroman, Alan Davies, Willam OGrady, Hom-Min Sohn, Teresa Pica, Dennis Preston, and Peter Sells. In addition, members of PAAL are involved in an international Cross-Cultural Distance Learning project (CCDL). This project is a consortium of 15 universities, which include the University of Edinburgh, National University of Singapore, and the De La Salle University, among others. This collaboration has resulted in active academic exchanges that have transcended time and region. The conference, journal, and participation in CCDL have brought PAAL international recognition.

What distinguishes PAAL from other academic associations is its focus on English language education and applied linguistics in Asian and pan Asian contexts. PAAL is one of the few associations, which has diverse interests in related interdisciplinary fields to applied linguistics such as foreign language education and literature. PAAL will continue to strive to be an intellectually stimulating forum and springboard for new research in the field of English education and related areas.