On October 5, 2021, Kyoto University and Tokyo University of Foreign Studies organized the first online meeting of the Advisory Committee for Developing Human Resources for Africa, as part of the “Inter-University Exchange Project with African Countries,” an exchange program supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).
Kyoto University was selected for the “Platform Program for Promotion of Exchanges” to build collaborative and interactive networks between the universities in Japan and Africa and between the universities and practical institutions engaged in Africa. To develop highly specialized human resources that can serve as a bridge between Japan and Africa and contribute to practical activities, the committee discussed concrete measures to promote educational exchanges between the 10 universities selected for the program and practical organizations operating in Africa.
In his opening remarks, Prof. Takao Hirajima, Executive Vice President (Education) of Kyoto University, said: “Kyoto University has been engaged in education and research activities in Africa for more than 60 years. We would like to accelerate educational exchange between Japan and Africa and promote cooperation beyond the boundaries of institutions and projects.” Thereafter, representatives from the United Nations Development Programme, African Development Bank, World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Japan External Trade Organization, Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Ashinaga Scholarship Foundation, and The certified NPO Terra Renaissance introduced their organizations’ activities in Africa.
In addition, representatives from each of the universities selected for the project introduced their international education initiatives and exchanged opinions. The committee members made specific suggestions such as providing internship opportunities and developing resilient students who can flexibly respond to challenges, thus indicating their high expectations for the program.
In conclusion, Ms. Orie Kishimoto, Senior Research Officer, Higher Education Bureau of MEXT, expressed her hope that the program would play a role in expanding the exchange between Japan and Africa as Japanese universities use their research for building networks between the two regions.