The University of Findlay’s collaboration with Findlay City Schools, the City of Findlay and Findlay/Hancock County economic development leaders to strengthen ties with Japan is continuing to provide tangible results.
A recent visit from a contingent of Japanese education leaders, facilitated by UF via Hiroaki Kawamura, associate professor of Japanese and director of the modern languages, furthered efforts regarding an exchange program between Findlay City Schools and Kawaguchi City, Japan’s board of education.
In 2018, FCS will send employees for professional development. In 2019, Kawaguchi City Board of Education will send two high school students to Findlay high School for a one-year study abroad. UF was initially contacted by Kawaguchi City and has been serving as facilitator of this development.
Also during that visit, Kawaguchi City Superintendent Shuhei Moro spoke on campus about “A National and Local Perspective on Pre-College Education in Japan,” which provided comparative perspectives on different ways that college preparatory methods are undertaken.
In addition, Moro and those traveling with him were guests at a dinner hosted by UF President Katherine Fell, Ph.D., at the Carrothers Home of the President.
Kawaguchi, a Tokyo suburb with a population of 600,000, is an older community known for its traditional cast iron industry, and in recent years has become the residence for many who work in Tokyo’s bustling economy.
Kawaguchi is in Saitama Prefecture, a location that Findlay and Hancock County leaders have been familiar with for decades thanks to trips and partnerships forged via University of Findlay outreach.
During an economic mission trip to Japan that took place from Oct. 23 through Nov. 1, Kawamura, Mayor Lydia Mihalik and economic development director Tim Mayle, participated in the Kawaguchi Product Fair and gave a presentation that highlighted business opportunities in Findlay and other locations in Ohio.
Also, from Nov. 6-16, UF is taking part in the Fukui/Findlay Business Seminar, which will host a group of business representatives who will participate in training opportunities focused on English-speaking business practices.
The seminar’s goal is “to train young professionals in Fukui to become ‘functional’ in the international setting,” said Kawamura. “More concretely, we will help them develop presentation and small talk skills in English,” which are becoming increasingly valuable in the globalized economy, he explained.
The University also has a long, successful history with Japan’s Fukui Prefecture, particularly the University of Fukui. Last year, the 10th anniversary of the Fukui/Findlay Scholarship Program was celebrated. It began during former UF president emeritus DeBow Freed’s tenure. The roots of the program reach back to 1947, when Freed visited Fukui Prefecture as a U.S. Army officer. The program grew this summer when UF sent nursing students to Japan for three-weeks.
From Oct. 23 through Nov. 1, it was Japan’s turn to play host to a Findlay contingent represented by Kawamura, Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik and Hancock County Economic Development Director Tim Mayle. The three intend to staff a booth at Fukui’s Techno Fair, which will present attractive business opportunities that our region has to offer.
“The Fukui-Findlay relationship is clearly not only education, but also business now,” said Kawamura.