In April, the ICU Graduate School launched the Diplomacy and International Public Service Program (DIPS). DIPS targets ICU graduate students and students in the Five-year Program (a program for students to obtain both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years) who are interested in pursuing careers in diplomacy or international organizations. It is designed so that students can acquire both the theoretical knowledge and practical experience that are necessary for such careers. A kick-off event was held on the ICU campus on Saturday, April 20th.
The Chair of the DIPS Committee, Professor Herman Salton, welcomed the participating students to the event while President Junko Hibiya made the opening remarks. In those, President Hibiya reminded participants that ICU was founded after World War II with the hope for reconciliation and peace, and expressed her pride in the many ICU alumni who have gone on to assume diplomatic careers. She also stressed the importance of promoting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and encouraged students to pursue global careers after DIPS.
In the morning, a panel discussion titled “Becoming a Diplomat from ICU” was held. Moderated by Distinguished Professor Motohide Yoshikawa, ICU graduate and former Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations, three diplomats and ICU alumni joined the panel. The panelists spoke about their motivation to enter the Foreign Ministry and how they prepared for the national exam. They also shared unique episodes about the selection of their language specialty, and the tasks and challenges of their respective jobs.
The afternoon session began with a talk by the Director of the Recruitment Center for International Organizations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Makoto Honda, on “The Path to Become an International Civil Servant”. He explained that the government is aiming to increase the number of Japanese staff in international organizations so as to allow Japan to make a greater contribution to the global community. He also expressed his wish for youth to enter international public service with a passion to work towards global common goals such as the SDGs, and outlined the skills and capacities required to become international civil servants.
Next, Professor Katsuhiko Mori provided an overview of DIPS and introduced the many international internship opportunities for ICU students. DIPS encourages students to pursue internships in order to gain practical experience and knowledge of a second foreign language, as well as to attend seminars and workshops and to study proactively.
A panel discussion with four interns working in the Tokyo offices of UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIC (UN Information Center) and UNDP followed. One panelist was a graduate of the ICU High School. The discussion was moderated by ICU alumna and DIPS Program Advisor Hiroko Morita. The interns shared their daily responsibilities, internship application processes, and lessons learned from their experiences. The session was a valuable opportunity for students to hear directly from young interns about their career goals.
To round off the event, Graduate School Dean Taisei Kaizoji expressed his appreciation for the support from various parties to materialize DIPS and his hope for the future growth of a program that is so closely tied to ICU’s founding philosophy and mission.
<This article was contributed by Ms. Hiroko Morita and edited by JICUF>