Indian Institute of Technology is well known as one of the top universities in India that produces world class leaders.
For these excellent undergraduate students of IIT, Honda Foundation is organizing Young Engineers and Scientists project since 2007. 5 winners are selected in India each year and Dr. Pachauri of IPCC and I delivered speech to congratulate the winners at the first awarding ceremony of last year as you may have read in this blog.
The Foundation then invited 4 winners to Japan for 2 months' research and trainings. This way, young people of India will not only learn more about Japan but will come to like Japan, and will eventually act as "Ambassadors to Japan." It is such a wonderful project. I certainly would like to see Japanese students given more chances of the same experience.
This year, all of the 5 winners spent 2 months in Japan. 2 students at Okazaki National Institutes of Natural Science in the field of gene technology, two at the research institute of Honda (in Miyazaki city, Miyazaki prefecture and Asaka city of Saitama prefecture), and one at Shibaura Institute of Technology. They apparently enjoyed the stay and told us enthusiastically about their experience in a different research environment of foreign country, different city environment, different values, about punctual train operations, hospitality of Japanese people, etc.
Upon their returning back to India, we arranged a farewell dinner with people from the Honda Foundation, Dr. Sunami of GRIPS, and students from IITN (it was a pity that one student could not make it). 3 people from the meeting of the other day, which included graduates of IIT, were also present making the gathering even more stimulating.
Encounter with foreign country or different culture at an early stage of life is an valuable asset. It would broaden one's view, as well as one's alternatives of life. It can also very possibly help "Connecting Dots" in the "Flat World."
Many thanks to people of the Honda Foundation, faculty members who were involved in the training of the students, and everyone who supported this project.