It was a fine day under a clear autumn sky just after a typhoon had passed. The “Tamagawa Career Forum with International Organizations 2015—For Junior High and High School Students” was held as an SGH project for all the students.
To make it easy for the students to imagine what it is to work at international organization and to learn what skills are needed for career building 11 lecturers, active around the world and belonging to the UN, were invited. They came from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, International NGOs and so forth. As a result, Japan’s first joint forum with international organizations was implemented for junior high and high school students.
A total of 898 students, from 9th to 12th grade had a chance to think about “involvement in the world” and “relationships between themselves and the world” in the keynote lecture and session meetings.
At 8:40, 454 of 11th and 12th graders gathered in the hall, and the keynote lecture started. The lecturer was Mr. Atsutoshi Hagino, who worked for the Recruitment Center for International Organizations, Foreign Policy Bureau, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. He simply talked about what is necessary to “be active on the global stage”—”learning English” and “becoming an expert”—these things were shown his own experiences.
Mr. Hagino said that it was important to understand different cultures in order to play an active role in global society. He emphasized that Japanese common sense was NOT the common sense of the world. He based this idea on his experience while working in Rumania, and the students were able to understand that “the necessary types of people are those who can accept various ideas and connect them to each other.”
At the end of the lecture, Mr. Hagino gave a final message, “Concentrate on your study at hand, and at the same time, pay attention to global issues”. The way to become a global person is the same as the way to improve yourself.” In the question and answer session after the lecture, the students asked many questions about the career path including university and fields of expertise.
After the keynote lecture, session meetings were held in different classrooms. The students attended one that they selected in advance.
Ms. Junko Sazaki, Director, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Tokyo Office, talked about the current state of world’s gender problems and about projects that were conducted to resolve them. She showed a lot of graphs and charts. The students understood the importance of “individual dignity” from Ms. Sazaki’s work and her attitude.
Mr. Kunihiko Hirabayashi, a director at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Tokyo Office, talked about “seven Chinese characters” that stand for seven skills to become a global leader, based on his medical knowledge and experience in the UN. “Each one has to maintain his or her ‘will’,” and “Global leaders are expected to think of ‘righteousness’”—he explained each character in an easy-to-understand and passionate manner. The students obtained the experience to understand what type of mindset is required to become a global leader.
Mr. Hideki Murakami, Vice Director, the Tokyo Office of Investment and Technology Promotion, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, was involved in the improvement of quality of life in developing countries stressing cooperation between the poor areas and companies in advanced countries. He said that he could overcome frustration and ambivalence, and work with genuine dedication because he kept believing that “I will never be able to do what I want to do unless I try to do it.” Then, he emphasized the importance of trying, saying, “Don’t be afraid, and try hard at what you decided to do.”
Mr. Yoshiaki Noguchi, a program analyst with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), talked about his school days, working for a private company and the current work he does at the UN. He shared many interesting experiences. He said “My goal is to realize a world with no poverty in which we don’t need to do these kinds of activities anymore.” He said that when he was a college student, he visited Asian countries as a back-packer, and learned the actual conditions on the wrong side of poverty there. The experience led him to his current work. His words certainly reached the students’ hearts.
On the theme of “Becoming a person who creates a new world,” Ms. Mio Nozoe, Programme Officer, the Yemen Office of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), talked about the skills required by the UN, and how to become a creative person. “Find what you are good at, and decide your field of expertise.” “You need to obtain the skills to negotiate and express yourself.”—the students were drawn to her emotionally-fueled talk, and earnestly nodded at her advice—”Keep your vision, and become a person who can create something.”
Mr. Mamoru Endo, Public Relations Officer, the External Representation Office for Asia, African Development Bank, talked on the theme of “My career and African development,” and about the support in the financial field. He explained the system of micro-finance, which is uncommon in advanced countries. He showed examples of how the local people were supported. He described the types of careers needed in the field, citing his own career and how he began to engage in the work.
Mr. Daisuke Imajo, Project Manager of the Refugee Film Festival by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), delivered a lecture on the theme of “Humanitarian support and film.” He talked about the activities taken to promote understanding about “refugees” with drama and documentary films that were collected from all over the world. He showed the facts from various points of view—refugees’ lives, the total numbers, the areas they are in and the possibility that the students could also become a “refugee”—and the facts made the students think about the issue in depth. He emphasized the importance of finding individual goals, and gave a message—”If you just have passion and language skills alone, you can still be active globally.”
Mr. Nobuyuki Yasui, Professor, Kwansei Gakuin University, leads the Center for International Education and Cooperation, which focuses on nurturing internationally minded people. He talked about the qualities that are required in a global person. He also talked about the students who are dispatched to the UN’s volunteer projects, showing the conditions and examples of them. To finish the session, he said that the strongest advantage for the students was “being Japanese,” and the links to the world built by the harmonious attitude of the Japanese people who first listen to others’ opinions and then try to coordinate. He advised the students to walk with confidence on the path to become a global person.
Ms. Yukiko Ishii, Secretary-general, the Japan Centre for Conflict Prevention, delivered the session on the theme of “How to build a steady career—to develop expertise that is available beyond an organization.” She talked about her own experiences in the disaster following the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake, which motivated her to engage in her current work. She also spoke about how she had built her career, post-conflict peacebuilding and the qualities required for her career. The students understood that the motivation and the means to start of each are different.
Ms. Mamiko Yano, Program Advisor, Secretariat of the International Peace Cooperation Headquarters, the Cabinet Office, talked on the theme of “Poverty around the world, and ‘rights of housing’ in slums—the viewpoint for career development.” She introduced the actual conditions of those who were aggrieved. She examined the issue at a national level and also from the point of view of women who cannot have rights of residence due to certain impediments and support activities for them. She explained the allure of a career in international organizations and the three types of the courses that often follow: international development, civil service and specialization. This session made the students feel more familiar with international work as an option in their futures.
After the program ended, the lecturers and the students had a tea party. They exchanged their feedback, and again realized and understood the value of the time given to them as junior high and high school students.
In this forum the students got a chance to understand that there are various types of careers on the global stage and those careers are available to them as options that they can select in the future.
Mr. Hagino is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at Keio University. He entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in 1994, and served as an officer at the Central and South Eastern Europe Division, the First Division of Intelligence and Analysis Service, and Recruitment Center for International Organizations. He had lived in Romania for seven years.
Session Meeting 1
Ms. Sazaki is Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Tokyo Office. After graduating from university, she received her master’s degrees in International Relations and Demography from two American universities. She has been dedicated to improving women’s social status and correcting gender disparity in UNFPA.
Session Meeting 2
Mr. Hirabayashi is Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Tokyo Office. He passed through Tsukuba University’s doctoral course, and received his medical degree. After graduating, he entered the Bureau of International Health Cooperation, Japan National Center for Global Health and Medicine. Since 2003 he has been dedicated to saving children while holding prominent positions in UNICEF.
Session Meeting 3
Mr. Murakami is Vice Director of the Tokyo Office of Investment and Technology Promotion, United Nations Industrial Development Organization. He was involved in foreign marketing at an electronics manufacturer. After graduating from graduate school in the U.S., he worked for a developing consulting company, and entered UNIDO.
Session Meeting 4
Mr. Noguchi is Program Analyst at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). After graduating from the Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University, he received his MBA from Bond University, Australia. After working for Toyota Motor Corporation and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), he has been playing an active role as a liaison person of the Japanese government and its related organizations.
Session Meeting 5
Ms. Nozoe is Program Officer at the Yemen Office of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). During her school days, she was involved in emergency relief activities. She received her master’s degree in Social Policy Studies in Developing Countries from the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2003 she was appointed to her current position.
Session Meeting 6
Mr. Endo is Public Relations Officer at the External Representation Office for Asia, African Development Bank. After working for a giant steelmaker, he was dispatched to Thailand and Cambodia as a member of an NGO. He was involved in projects of the WFP, and worked for the Japanese embassy in Tanzania. In 2013 he was appointed to his current position.
Session Meeting 7
Mr. Imajo is Project Manager of the Refugee Film Festival by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). After graduating from Tamagawa High School, he studied in the U.S. He worked for Médecins sans Frontières and as a film distributor. Since 2009 he has been playing an important role as the coordinator of the Refugee Film Festival.
Session Meeting 8
Mr. Yasui is Professor at the Center for International Education and Cooperation, Kwansei Gakuin University. While working for Japan Airlines, he was dispatched to Ethiopia as a member of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers. He worked for the Japanese embassy in Tanzania; Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University; JICA (Japan Cooperation International Agency). In 2015 he was appointed to his current position, and has been dedicated to nurturing young people.
Session Meeting 9
Ms. Ishii is Secretary-general of the Japan Centre for Conflict Prevention. After graduating from the School of Law, Osaka University, she finished master’s courses in political science at The University of Sheffield and in international relations at Ritsumeikan University. After working for the UN, at governmental organizations and universities, she has been supporting peacebuilding activities in conflict zones.
Session Meeting 10
Ms. Yano is Program Advisor at Secretariat of the International Peace Cooperation Headquarters, the Cabinet Office. She graduated from International Christian University, and finished master’s courses at the University of London (UCL) and University of Tokyo. She studied poverty, land and housing problems in developing countries, and the related law. After she moved on to at an NGO, a bank and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), she was appointed to her current position in 2014.