SIETAR Japan, Kansai Chapter September 2011 “Organising ‘Kokusai Kouryu’ Events that Work’

Presenter:   Stephen Ryan ( St. Thomas University)

Date:       Sunday, September 25, 2011 (2:00pm-4:00pm)

Place:      Nishinomiya Daigaku Koryu Center, Room 2(6F, ACTA East Tower,

            a short walk from Hankyu Nishinomiya Kitaguchi Station)

            Tel. (0798)69-3155 


Fee:        500 yen for members and students, 1,000yen for non-members

Language:  English



Description of presentation:
When welcoming visitors from abroad to Japanese schools and other institutions, it is customary to hold activities which encourage 国際交流 (International exchange, in the sense of “everybody getting along together well”). The outcome of these activities is often disappointing: a great deal of effort is expended but the atmosphere is often stiff and less than sociable; enthusiasm for welcoming foreign guests is often blunted rather than increased; and in the end it can be difficult to say whether meaningful connections have been made on a personal level.

The presenter will draw on his experience of organising 国際交流 between groups from Japan and the Philippines. He will outline the factors in these activities which lead to successful, meaningful experiences for participants, such as emphasizing cooperation rather than competition, letting participants meet as equals, providing opportunities rather than structure, and making sure there is plenty of food on hand.

The principles outlined are not all original. The key ones can be found in Gordon Allport’s work on reducing prejudice. However, the presenter adds to and extends Allport’s concepts.

Profile of presenter:

Stephen Ryan is Vice President of St. Thomas University in Amagasaki. He runs Cultural Experience Programs both for Japanese students going abroad and Filipino students coming to Japan. The emphasis in the programs is on experiential learning and learning through friendship.