I had a breakfast in the morning of April 13th with Professor Emeritus of Princeton Hisashi Kobayashi of Princeton (I assume you have read about him in my past posting as elsewhere) and Dr. Masako Egawa, newly appointed board member of the University of Tokyo, a Harvard Business School alumna, who had been working to help build relationships with Japan and the HBS.
It was a day after the entrance ceremony of the University of Tokyo ? Professor Kobayashi came to Tokyo to give a speech (in Japanese) at the welcome ceremony of the graduate school.
Professor Kobayashi shares the same deep concerns with me ? the unbelievably insular mind set of Japanese university students in this global age. I strongly advise everyone, especially to university faculties and students, to read his message which I have linked above
Dr. Egawa is also thinking the same and trying very hard to help do something about it although, as you may imagine, like other things, it is not at all easy.
In the afternoon, I received a visit from Saisho-kun of Waseda University whom I have written about in this web site several times in the past. A year ago, he took a leave of absence, went to Bangladesh, worked actively in‘GCMP’ setting up various projects, and recently has come as far as to obtain support from Dr. Yunus of the Grameen Bank. It is amazing how much a student can grow. I could see how good plans, business models they can develop through their own real experiences are so very important and valuable for young men and women to find what they can do to help others, leading to find what they want to do and to be. Everybody is full of enthusiasm. Mr. Saisho returned to Japan to extend his leave of absence for another 6 months from Waseda University since one year has passed already. His mind is full of even more ideas, too.
Miyoshi-kun who was taking care of administrative works in Japan will now also take leave of absence and depart for Bangladesh. I am looking forward to seeing more growth and expansion of their projects. GCMP launched a few program last year. One of their projects was 'to take some 20 Japanese undergraduate students to Bangladesh' for 3 weeks last summer to live and work there. I understand that quite many of them are going overseas for the first time. I was told that they changed a lot after the experience. Already a few of them have actually gone to South America, India, etc. and are planning to start projects while they work there. This February, GCMP took about 10 students for 10 days to Bangladesh. To my surprise, that Professor Seichiro Yonekura of the Hitotsubashi University, one of authorities of Innovation, accompanied this group and while all students lost their weight, he alone gained weight. Good for him!
To make changes to the challenges of the world today, such ACT of going to the field abroad, acquiring the sense of the local site is so crucially important.