My name is Paul Clark, and I am a four year regular undergraduate student from a small farm in Baltimore, Maryland.
Based on an invitation from Pacific Forum CSIS, Mark Flanigan had the pleasure of joining the World Sports Values Summit for Peace and Development at the United Nations here in NYC. As part of the Summit, Mark was invited to serve on a panel entitled “The Transformational Potential of the Tokyo Olympics and International Sporting Platforms.” Mark spoke about his experiences living in Nagasaki and Tokyo, and shared his thoughts on the impacts of both the 1964 and 2020 Summer Olympic Games on Tokyo and Japan as a whole.
Members of The U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON) and other U.S.-Japan related organizations, including The Japan ICU Foundation, met yesterday in Washington D.C. to discuss key takeaways of the President Obama / Prime Minister Abe joint statement adopting CULCON’s goal of doubling two-way student exchange by the year 2020. Representatives of over 20 organizations joined Susan Stevenson, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State, in discussing the design and implementation of a new exchange program.
The Japan ICU Foundation has provided a $3,000 grant to Youth for 3.11 to support student volunteer efforts in Tohoku. Youth for 3.11 is the largest student organization in Japan committed to providing relief and reconstruction after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The grant will enable ICU students (and UC students studying abroad at ICU) to volunteer in Tohoku with Team Asunaro, one of Youth for 3.11’s many partners. Team Asunaro is a grassroots group of French car enthusiasts who drive to Tohoku once a month to volunteer.
Following up on our series of successful recruitment events in Seattle, New York, Honolulu and the Sakura Matsuri – Washington, DC, JICUF Program Director (and ICU alumnus) Mark Flanigan once again teamed up for another opportunity with our ICU alumni in a new city. Led by Ms. Ayaka Masumoto, the dynamic Boston ICU Alumni Chapter leader, a team of volunteers came to provide excellent support for our recruitment efforts at the two-day Boston College Fair.
JICUF Program Director Mark Flanigan and Program Intern Milena Naitoh traveled to Washington DC to represent the Foundation at the 54th Annual Sakura Matsuri Street Festival. For the second year in a row, JICUF teamed up with the dynamic ICU DC Alumni Chapter to sponsor an informational booth about ICU. This large-scale event is held annually each spring by The Japan-America Society of Washington, DC, attracting thousands of festival-goers who enjoy Japanese food, culture, music and the lovely Cherry Blossoms.
I recently had a chance to interview Naomi Erlewine. Naomi transferred from NYU to ICU to learn more about her Japanese heritage. She graduated in 2010 with a B.A. in psychology and is currently enrolled at Teachers College, Columbia University with a specialization in bilingual education.
I had the privilege of interviewing Megumi Nishikura, former ICU Rotary Peace Fellow (MA, ’08), and producer and director of Hafu – the mixed-race experience in Japan, a documentary exploring the challenges and unique awareness of the multiracial experience in Japan.
JICUF Program Director Mark Flanigan traveled to Seoul, South Korea, from 17-20 March to attend and speak at the Asia-Pacific Association for International Education (APAIE) Conference and Exhibition.
In the fall of 2012, ICU and the Japan ICU Foundation collaborated with the Aspen Institute to produce the 2012 Aspen Cultural Diplomacy Forum on the ICU campus. The Forum’s theme was “The Art of Peacebuilding and Reconciliation.” Since 2012, the Japan ICU Foundation has sought to become more actively involved in various peace related initiatives at ICU. These include a workshop organized by ICU’s Institute for Christianity and Culture in October of 2013 focused on the future of the humanities within and beyond academia and two conferences organized by ICU’s Social Science Research Institute in January and February, 2014.