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More students participating in foreign exchange programs a top priority

Caroline Kennedy
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy

Visiting Tokyo this week, I had the distinct honor and privilege of meeting the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, the Honorable Caroline Kennedy. We had a substantive discussion about President Obama’s commitment to doubling the number of students participating in foreign exchange programs, which the Ambassador also expressed as a top priority.

The University of Washington has active and longstanding student exchange relationships with nine Japanese institutions: Aoyama Gakuin University, Keio University, Kobe University, Kyoto University, Kyushu University, Osaka University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, University of Tokyo and Waseda University. In 2014, 59 UW students studied in Japan.

We value and support our partnerships with leading Japanese universities. The UW and Waseda University have been building collaborations across several different areas and have begun a new partnership with Waseda’s Center for Learning, Teaching and Technology. This venture leverages the skills of UW staff and faculty in pedagogical innovation by pairing them with peers from Waseda to develop a truly collaborative project.

In addition, the UW is one of Waseda’s key American partners in developing a Global Leadership Fellows Program: The UW, Berkeley, Columbia, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins and Dartmouth send outstanding students with leadership potential to study a specially developed curriculum at Waseda. In turn, these universities receive Waseda students whom they mentor in leadership studies.

From our iconic campus cherry trees to our state’s rich history with Japan, the UW treasures its longstanding relationship with our Japanese partners. Over 100 years ago, in 1908, 15 Japanese students helped found the International Students Club, and now, in 2014, Japanese is the second-most studied language at the University and demand for the study of this country’s history, culture and language has never been stronger. This warms my heart more than ever, as my affection for Japan has only deepened since I first traveled there more than four decades ago.

We will continue to seek opportunities to deepen the UW’s relationship with our Japanese friends and partners, and celebrate our mutual collaborations — past, present and future.