28 AB students, faculty conduct academic visits, collaborative thematic seminars at YNU, WASEDA University, Hijiyama University in Japan

In its efforts to expand the internationalization endeavors of its academic degree programs, the Faculty of Arts and Letters embarked on academic visits, collaborative thematic seminars and benchmarking activities and participated in intensive foreign language course at the Yokohama National University (YNU), WASEDA University, and Hijiyama University in Japan. With a total of 28 participants, composed of nine faculty and 19 students, this is one of the largest contingents sent by the Faculty of Arts and Letters for its internationalization activities.

A collaborative thematic seminar was conducted at Yokohama National University with Assoc. Prof. Hisami Andrade as lecturer on: ”Some Aspects of Japanese Society and Culture”, which was followed by the lectures of Dr. Lino Baron, Department Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies, on “Revisiting Contemporary Japan: A Filipino Perspective and Dr. Dennis Coronacion, Department Chair of Political Science on “Peace Processes in the Philippines and Japan’s Role in the Mindanao Peace Process. The Seminar was facilitated by Dr. Hiromi Kabashima, Professor of International Law at Yokohama National University and Dr. John Berry, visiting fellow on International Relations at YNU and Tomoko Takeuchi, Manager, International Office of YNU. After a whole day of seminars, the program was formally closed by Prof. Ichiro Araki, Professor of Law and International Trade of YNU through his closing message. The group was also given time to visit some of the facilities of YNU for the benchmarking activities and academic meetings.

The Arts and Letters group visited WASEDA University and was met by Ms. Ayaka Konagaya, program coordinator of the International Relations Office of Waseda University. She gave a lecture/orientation about WASEDA University and its academic programs for international students; likewise, students and faculty members of UST were given the opportunity to visit some of WASEDA’s faculties and facilities such as the International Affairs Building, the Faculty of Politics, Faculty of Economics and the Faculty of Political Economy. The group also visited WASEDA’s University Library, which holds an enormous collection of about 6 million books. An academic meeting between UST and WASEDA was also conducted.

The WASEDA panel consisted of Prof. Dr. Norimasa Morita, Vice President for International Affairs, Professor in Literature and Film Studies, Takehiro Maeno, Director, Planning Office for International Education, Director, Center for International Education, Hidetaka Yamada, Administrative Director for Student Services, International Affairs Division, Manager, Center for International Education, Ayaka Konagaya, Program Coordinator, Planning Office for International Education, Center for International Education and Hajime Usukura, Coordinator for Asia, Middle East and Africa, International Office, International Affairs Division. In the said meeting, points for collaboration were discussed, foremost of which are student exchange and eventually faculty exchange through short visits and intensive seminars or lectures.

As an initial step in collaboration, WASEDA University will send 11 students to UST in September 2016 for a three week intensive English Language program.

Cultural visits were also conducted. Visited were the Imperial Palace, Tokyo National Museum, Asakusa Jinja Shrine and the Tokyo Tower. Cultural field exposure and historical visits and traditional activities were made to various shrines like Rokuon Ji Temple or the Golden Pavillion, Kinkaku Ji shrine, the Nijo Castle, and the Toei Uzumasa Eigamura or the Kyoto Studio Park.

The group proceeded to Hiroshima for the Collaborative Thematic Seminars, Intensive Language program at Hijiyama University, Cultural and field exposure and Historical visits at Hiroshima and a government agency seminar. Two collaborative seminars were held at Hijiyama University. The first seminar was delivered by Prof. Dr. Belen Tangco who lectured on “Internationalization in Higher Education” followed by a lecture of Prof. Dr. Akira Ninomiya, President of Hijiyama University on “UMAP and Internationalization of Academic Programs.” The second seminar was delivered by Prof. Dr. Joyce Arriola on “The Filipino Historical Novel and the Centennial Literary Prize 1998, Form as History, History as Form, followed by a lecture of Dean Prof. Dr. Michael Anthony Vasco on “Culture and Cultural Products in Liberal Arts” and lastly a lecture by Prof. Dr. Shidawara on “The History and Culture of Miyajima”. The said seminars were attended by both faculty and students of UST and Hijiyama University.

In a luncheon meeting sponsored by the President of Hijiyama University, Prof. Dr. Akira Ninomiya for the UST group, other officials and faculty from Hijiyama University also attended including Prof. Dr. Shigesako Kazumi, Deputy Vice-President (International Collaboration), Dr. Morikawa Atsuko, Associate Professor, Faculty of Contemporary Culture, Prof. Dr. David Mosher, Professor of Applied Linguistics, Prof. Kenji Uno, Faculty of Contemporary Culture.

A highlight of the historical visit was the visit to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, where the group attended a lecture testimony of Ms. Michiko Yamaoka a Hibakusha a family member of an Atomic bomb victim. The Thomasians also had a cultural exposure at Miyajima, Itsukushina Shrine and the Daisho-in Temple, and a lecture on the “Planning and Development of Hiroshima City after the 1945 Atomic Bombing”. The lecture was given by Mr. Kota Hashimoto, program officer of the City government of Hiroshima. Also present during the lecture and open forum were Yoko Shigemizu, Chief International Relations Division, Citizens Affairs Bureau, City Government of Hiroshima and Hitoshi Inoue, Assistant Director of the same office.

In between these activities the students attended and completed their intensive Japanese language program culminating with their written exams and awarding of their language certificate of completion from Hijiyama University. Hijiyama University already sent two groups of students to UST in January to February 2015 and 2016 with 8 and 17 students respectively, completing their intensive English Language Course program. Enroute to Manila the group visited the city of Osaka, the Osaka castle in particular, the last cultural visit for the entire academic trip.

YNU has been sending graduate students to the UST Graduate School for collaborative thematic seminars and joint plant and government agency visits. Recently YNU also sent undergraduate students in the social sciences to observe some classes at the Faculty of Arts and Letters.

The UST faculty group consisted of Dean Prof. Michael Anthony C. Vasco, PhD, Asst. Dean Narcisa N. Tabirara, MLitt, Department of Literature Chairperson Prof. Joyce L. Arriola, PhD, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies Chairperson Lino N. Baron, PhD, Department of Political Science Chairperson Dennis Coronacion, PhD, Department of Communication and Media Studies Chairperson Jose Arsenio Salandanan, MS, Department of Sociology Chairperson Josephine A. Placido, MA, College Accreditation Committee Member Consuelo Gotauco, and Prof. Belen L. Tangco, PhD, who is a member of the CHED Technical Panel for Transnational Education and Professor of Political Science.

The student participants were Leah Dwight G. Abayon, Rani Mae B. Aberin, Anne Nicole L. Agravante, Denise Patricia M. Amador, Estella Mariez M. America, Claire Janzenn Anito, Ivy Dianne V. Cai, Jillen Kyle B. Chan, Maria Conchita Isabell S. Edwards, Kristine Gail C. Era, Aira marie P. Garing, Chelsea Marie Y. Laong, Jandell V. Marcalinas, Karlien Allyssa B. Marges, Cardinal John Mizano, Beatrix G. Ronquillo, Katrina Camille Roxas, Jose Benigno D. Sayon and Karl Rovin L. Villapando.

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