As we mark the one year anniversary of the onset of the global pandemic, we mourn for those we have lost and reflect on the ways in which the pandemic has impacted people around the world. For many, one of the biggest challenges has been the loss of human connection. Regardless of where one lies on the extrovert-introvert scale, everyone requires human connection to provide meaning and fulfillment in life.
The Japan ICU Foundation’s work is centered on building connections between people. While we have not been able to support activities on the ICU campus or student and faculty travel for research and service activities, online programming has enabled us to maintain and even expand connections during the pandemic. We have implemented three different online programs since the outbreak of the pandemic. Each is described briefly below.
Online Discussion Series on Higher Education Initiatives for Refugees in Asia and the Pacific
Co-hosted with UNHCR, this online series consisted of four sessions that were held between July and October 2020. Seventeen leaders in the fields of refugee protection and higher education were featured throughout the series, and each session included breakout discussions. Approximately 100 people from across the world participated in the sessions. Find out more about this series here.
Japan and the Sustainable Development Goals
Japan and the SDGs is an online discussion series that examines how contemporary global challenges are viewed within Japanese society and how Japan confronts these challenges, both domestically and internationally. The series utilizes the framework of the United Nations SDGs, and each session focuses on a significant global challenge associated with one or more SDG. The sessions each feature two speakers and are moderated by an ICU professor. Thus far, we have held three sessions focused on gender equality and women’s empowerment, global poverty and inequality and climate action. Two additional sessions are planned, focusing on food security and quality education for all. Approximately 120 people have participated in the sessions. Most participants are ICU students and alumni, but the sessions are open to the public. More information can be found about the program at this link on our website.
Global Alumni Speakers Series
The Global Alumni Speaker Series is an opportunity for ICU students and alumni to learn about the inspiring work and lives of ICU alumni, and to engage in meaningful dialogue with each other. Each of the online sessions features an ICU alum who lives or has lived outside of Japan or who has pursued a career that is global in nature. Each session begins with a 15 minute presentation by the featured alum, followed by 45 minutes of moderated Q&A dialogue. So far five sessions have been held and approximately 100 students and alumni have participated. More information can be found about the program at this link on our website.
Even after the pandemic is over, JICUF will continue to offer online programming to connect people from around the world. We encourage you to participate in an upcoming event, and wish you a safe and happy 2021!