On Sunday, July 11th, AIRY held Yamagata Kaleidoscope 2010 “Connecting with the World”, to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
The first part consisted of a speech by the former chancellor of Yamagata University, Dr. Sendo Fujiro. With the theme of “Reflect on our cultural exchange – prepare for the global era”, Dr. Sendo discussed his involvement in the JICA Technical Cooperation during his years in Yamagata University and his experience in participating in the JICA Senior Volunteer Abroad Program after his retirement.
Some participants were able to learn more about Paraguay who was Japan’s opponent during the recent World Cup match, while others said they learned more about developing countries from his speech.
The theme for the second part was “Communicating with East Asia.” The first half was led by Dr. Abe Yasuko from Tohoku University and Mr. Yoshida, the director of Yamagata-Papua Friendship Association. The participants learned about the Papua, Indonesia, which is a sister city of Yamagata, and participated in the storytelling of Papua folktales.
Many felt extremely impressed by the exotic pictures from Papua and learned a great deal about the friendships between Yamagata prefecture and Papua.
The last part of the event was a symposium on cultural exchange in East Asia, with a panel discussion led by the Director of AIRY, Mr. Takahashi, and 3 panel speakers: Mr. Yoshida from Yamagata-Papua Friendship Association, Mr. Daimon from JETRO Yamagata and Ms Park, who is prefectural coordinator of international Relations. The panels shared their views and experiences on the topic.
In regards to how cultural exchange should be advanced in East Asia, some ideas raised include strengthening PR on Yamagata, improving the language ability of the people in order to overcome language barriers, and expanding social networks.
AIRY would like to thank everyone for their support, and will continue to work on facilitating cultural exchange and understanding among citizens of Yamagata.