Educating to Pursue Better Social Development

Years have passed since I started to teach at Department of World Liberal Arts at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies.  Over the years, opportunities of education in the fields like "Social Development," "Human Security," "Peace Building," "Social Work,” "Community Building," "Volunteering," and so on have increasingly come to visit me.  Along with having varieties of classes relating to those fields, I have been organizing study-tours in which participant-students are encouraged to think and cope with varieties of global social issues.  I have fortunately been given opportunities of taking part in or observing with students those activities conducted by NGOs and NPOs in Japan.  In addition, it is so lucky for me to have those students who have eagerly joined my out-of-class lessons where we read books of the fields above both in Japanese and English.  I would like to share here records of my education.

Students' Engamement in Social Activities outside University

【NEW!】'SALA DE ARTE,' a special documentary program on the public art project coordinated by NPO TORCIDA in the apartment complex at Homi area, was broadcasted on Saturday 30th May on the TV channel of Himawari network, a local cable-television company covering three cities of Toyota, Miyoshi and Nagakute.  About the half of the residents of the apartment complex at Homi area are people with varieties of foreign nationalities, with those with Brazilian nationality being the largest.  The program was a well-organized, thought-provoking one, getting us think about what would be significant in building the community of people with diverse backgrounds.

Two of my students are now making notes of their impressions and comments on the program.  I would like to share them here sooner!




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About one month ago, when COVID-19 started to affect Japanese society seriously, the seminar “Cooperativity in Multicultural Societies for the Seeking of New Social Conditions: Possibilities of Multiculturalism and Cooperativism” was held in a form of online conference.  At first, it had been planned as an on-site seminar as usual, but the shifting situation made that plan difficult to carry out, with its organizer deciding to hold it online.  The organizer was Sumire KANDA san, who bridged two organizations of Cultural Symbiosis Research Institute at Aichi Prefectural University and NPO Research Center for Regional Cooperation for the realization of the seminar.



The seminar highlighted the significance of both coping with the difficulties facing people coming from varieties of regions in the world to live in Japan from 1990s and revisiting histories of specific hardships and struggles experienced by Korean or Chinese people in the decades before 1990s, which mainly originated from historical interventions of Japan in regions in East Asia before and among the Asia Pacific War.  The discussion implied that it could be beneficial to seek possibilities of reformulating Cooperativism to become a foundational concept to bridge diverse experiences of the people living in Japan.  In that attempt, as the seminar demonstrated, those experiences acquired in Development Studies through the involvement of local people into the planning and realization of social reformation could serve as useful references.

Two of concerned students of mine, Kaoru ODA san and Nanako SUZUKI san, both having been participants of out-of-class lessons to read Poverty to show their intelligence, joined me to take part in the online seminar and organized a note of their brief comments on it.  Here, I would like to share the file of it, which shows their earnest attitudes to learn from the discussions given in the seminar.

You could see the PDF file to click here! (the file is given in Japanese.)


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On Sunday 29th March, the final weekend of the month, the study session “Whither future the sum of Multiculturalism and Education opens the path to?” was held by the Study Group of/on Horizontal Equal Relationships at Eifuku Temple located in the city of Kariya.  In the session, Sumire KANDA san, a multicultural social worker whose activities I respect a lot, coordinated a roundtable talk for concerned citizens.


Participants’ discussion and consideration went through varieties of topics regarding the conditions of livelihood surrounding people from abroad and their children in Japan: status of residence, permitted working hours, educational and vocational supports, communal family supports and so on.

Takane HOSHIZAKI san, one of my students who has been conscious of diverse social issues inside and outside Japan and also participated in out-of-class lessons to read Poverty, joined the study session with me via online video conference system.  Before taking part in it, I asked her to take notes simultaneously and make a sum-up afterward to deepen her understanding.  She showed her excellency to have the works done in a wonderful manner!  I would like to share both of her works.


You could see her works to click here! (the file is given in Japanese.)


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An article on the Chunichi Newspaper's morning edition on Saturday 21st March 2020 mentions the name of Akari NAKAGAWA san, one of the eager students who have joined the out-of-class lessons to read Philip N. Jefferson's Poverty illustrated below.  From January to March this year, NAKAGAWA san had internship experience at Asian Health Institute (AHI) at Nisshin city.  AHI has been one of the greatest NGOs in Japan for decades, I strongly believe, with its mission to encourage people in Asia to mobilize social powers to enhance their conditions of health and well-being.

NAKAGAWA san's job at AHI was to help Takahiro NAKASHIMA san, staff there, organize its Study Tour in Sri Lanka; however, it was called off due to the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19.  The Chunichi Newspaper's article given by Yuri NISHIKAWA san takes up the event of final gathering of participants in the cancelled tour.  As the article shows, those who took part in the gathering discussed what they learned by themselves about Sri Lanka in a preparatory manner and made contact with staffs of NGOs in Sri Lanka via an online meeting system to talk about the current situation of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka.

Although the cancellation of the study tour is truly unfortunate, it does not decrease the significance of the experience NAKAGAWA san acquired at AHI.  As an educator working at university, I would like to thank NAKASHIMA san and AHI a lot for giving her a wonderful opportunity of internship.  Also, I would like to show my large respect for the talents and abilities of NAKAGAWA san!


Reading Poverty

In the summer holiday period in 2019 after the end of the first semester of the year, I started out-of-class lessons for students to read Philip N. Jefferson's Poverty brought out in 2018, one of the series of 'A Very Short Introduction' published by Oxford University Press.  Who gathered there were some students who were eager to establish fundamental skills to consider and tackle with social issues observed both within and outside Japan, along with enhancing English skills much higher.  We have kept gathering for months through the summer, the following period of the second semester of our university from September to January, and the current spring holiday period of the year 2020.  However, the ongoing outbreak of novel Coronavirus makes it difficult for us to gather and have a discussion together.  What we have found is one useful online system for video meetings, which enables us to resume the lessons.  Being not sure how the situation goes, I feel inclined to make use of the online system to a fuller extent.



Reading Development and Japanese translation of Le développement humain La politique de l'autonomie  

After the cancellation in the end of January 2020 of our department's study tour in and around Manila, I started alternative special classes for students who would take part in it.  They came to be closed in the end of March, converted into new out-of-class lessons from April to keep reading Ian Goldin's Development published in 2018 as one of the series of 'A Very Short Introduction' of Oxford University Press, and Japanese translation of Esther Duflo's Le développment humaine / La politique de l'autonomie published in 2017 by Misuzu Shobo.  Due to the spread of COVID-19, we started these new lessons in the form of gathering online.