Several initiatives have taken place in recent months to help build and maintain relationships with The University of Findlay’s Japanese affiliates. These initiatives include an invitation to the Japanese consulate’s “Thank You, Ohio!” event and a trip to Japan.
In response to the University’s support following Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, four UF students and Hiroaki Kawamura, Ph.D., chair of the department of language and culture, were invited to attend the Japanese consulate’s “Thank You, Ohio!” event in October.
The event, which was hosted by the Consulate General of Japan in Detroit, recognized the relationship between Ohio and Japan and thanked Ohio for its overwhelming support and encouragement following the disaster. It was attended by a wide range of organizations and several Japanese consul members.
Kawamura says that students played key roles in raising support for Japan. Apart from fundraising efforts, students folded 2,000 traditional cranes to send to Japan.
“Many people at The University of Findlay have developed personal relationships with people in Japan, and those relationships mean a lot,” said Kawamura. “The fundraising started in response to those personal relationships.”
The following month, President Katherine Fell, Ph.D.; Richard Fell; C. Richard Beckett, D.V.M., chair of The University of Findlay Board of Trustees; and Kawamura traveled to Japan for one week to visit the Fukui prefecture (region) and the Kake Educational Institution.
The University has offered a scholarship to one student in the Fukui prefecture each year since 2006. During the trip, the group visited Fukui government officials, Fukui International Association and the University of Fukui, which frequently hosts exchange programs with UF.
They also were invited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Kake Education Institution, which includes several universities, high schools and vocational schools. At the ceremony, Beckett delivered a speech representing all the international guests in attendance.
Kawamura says building these relationships is important because it leads to opportunities for students both in Japan and Findlay.
“When we give a student from Fukui a scholarship, UF students will interact with the Fukui student and the impact of his or her presence is multiplied,” Kawamura says. “The biggest purpose of the visit to Japan was to make the relationship even stronger. Ultimately, we are creating more opportunities for everyone at the University.”
By Katie Baumgart