The “Asian Youth Exchange Program in Okinawa” (Ref.1,2) was launched 3 years ago in Okinawa. It is a “Summer Camp” designed for youths of 15 years old or so of Japan and other Asian countries to spend time together in Okinawa for about 3 weeks. The participants truly share a great time together.
This year is the 4th year of this program. The title was modified to “Asia Youth Development Program in Okinawa (AYDPO) ” as Okinawa has become the organizer to serve as the host of the program,. All the participants of the last 3 years of 2008-2010 and the university students who joined as the Tutors have been stayed connected through FaceBook and other networks, their passion and friendships remain vividly alive.
As always, I went to Okinawa to join in the closing ceremony. This year the students continued to work on water problem. Each presentation was unique and creative in its own ways. We all shared a very moving time.
The programs, diary, photos, works, and the songs they made this year are uploaded on this site. Here, you can feel the happy time those youths had together. Their shared experience will be of great value for their future.
I encourage all of you to expand such activities spontaneously in anyway possible, whether in schools, communities, or any sort of units as you think fit.
It is so important for Japan, Asian youths, and the future of the world to provide youths much opportunities and places to meet each other so that they can create networks of friends beyond the national borders. I firmly believe that this is a great issue.
Besides giving a speech at the closing ceremony of AYEPO, I took advantage of this opportunity to visit the Ryukyu University in the morning to join in the lecture and chat with people who are actively engaged in “MOT” (but unfortunately we ran short of time. Sorry about this.) In the evening I had a dinner with President Dorfan (Ref.1) of Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) (Dr. Dorfan will be officially appointed as the president of this institution after it is accredited a graduate school), his wife, and Dr. Baughman, the Vice President and Executive Director.
Actions to “Open” Japan to the world are in progress in Okinawa. I ask you all for your warm support.