Three students from Soka University participated in "HPAIR" Conference
March 25, 2020
From February 14th to 17th, three students from Soka University's Global Citizenship Program(GCP), Ms. Matsuyama (Faculty of Law, third year), Ms. Takahashi (Faculty of Economics, third year) and Ms. Tani (Faculty of Economics, third year) participated in HPAIR (Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations) held in Boston, Massachusetts USA, Harvard University.
This forum started in 1991 by Harvard University, to create a forum for students from around the world to discuss the economic, political, and social issues facing the Asia-Pacific region.
About 300 university students and working adults from 90 countries and regions participated in the forum this year. Participants separated into six courses for panel discussions and group work: "Entrepreneurship & Technology", "Energy & Environmental Sustainability", "Arts, Media, and Culture", "Global Markets and Economy", "Governance and Geopolitics", and "Social Policy and Justice".
Ms. Takahashi, who participated in the "global markets and economy" session stated, "What struck me the most was hearing about the "importance of speaking up for the ones who do not have a voice." During the lecture, we had lunch with participants from India and they told us about the current situation in Kashmir, which was the cause of conflict between India and Pakistan. The living conditions of the local people were far more severe than I could've imagined. However, the actual situation was rarely reported through the media, and I was very shocked because most people are not aware of the current situation. That is why I was very touched that many of the participants I met at the session were working hard to reach out to hidden parties. In the future, I want to contribute to help resolve urban poverty and economic disparities that are expanding with the rapid development of urban areas. Not only did I get insights from many experts on the topic, but I was very grateful to be able to participate in the session together with the people that I met. I feel that having this strong connection with the young generation will be treasured in my heart for the rest of my life."
Ms. Tani, who also participated in the "global markets and economy" mentioned, "Together with my group, we emphasized the business and technology perspective of innovating ideas to increase audience, analyzing sales and promotion strategies, and developing apps for the NBA (National Basketball Association). Although it was difficult to participate in the discussion at first, I tried to be conscious in actively giving opinions. Also, we tried to have common understandings of the team and worked to collect and discuss our opinions. We spent four days with people of the same age gathered from around the world and listened to real opinions of the same generation who cannot learn from news etc. Also, we were able to talk about Japan-Korea relations and disparities within India outside of our meetings, and I enjoyed being able to interact with many people."
Ms. Matsuyama, who participated in the "social policy and justice" session commented, "On the last day, I challenged myself to participate in the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) policy-making session. Within the short three-hour time limit, we worked together with the youths of Mexico, Thailand, and India to create a theme, analyze the current situation, and present it to the UNHCR vice deputy secretary. We had the great opportunity to present the proposal "Introduction of International Curriculum for Rohingya Refugees and UN Diploma". I felt that my English skills, logical thinking skills, and contribution to group work were higher than when I participated in this forum in my second year. I am appreciative that my studies at the GCP, International Peace and Foreign Relations Course, and studying in the United States have supported my challenges that I faced this time."