Harvard College in Japan; Liberal Arts Without Borders is a program for Japanese high school students organized mainly by undergraduate students of Harvard University and several Japanese Universities. It had its 1st event last summer.
Since it was shortly after the “3.11” that this program was held for the first time last year, there were a number of restrictions and inconveniences to overcome, but still, more than 20 students participated from Harvard, and the event in the end turned out to become a wonderful experience for the 80 or so Japanese high school students, giving them great Impacts, thanks to the efforts of the undergraduate students from both U.S. and Japan. The event was also covered by several Japanese medias.
I was greatly pleased with their success because I was advising and supporting them from the start. (Ref.1)
Perhaps last year’s success helped in many ways, because the program of this year, the 2nd event, was able to obtain a great support from a large number of people. I would like to call your attention to the fact that about 80 Harvard students applied, and among the chosen 23 students, 6 were from last year’s participants. So, I became confident that this program is a success.
On top of this, there were 350 applications from the high school students this year. I was so happy to hear this. I imagine that the students in charge had to work very hard in planning the program, not to mention the selection of 80 participants from the 350 applicants.
This year’s program lasted for 10 days and the students stayed at the same accommodation.
On the first day I delivered an Opening Keynote Lecture; “Uncertain Times Ahead: Why Liberal Arts Now?”. It was a pity that other than this, I was only able to participate in a part of the afternoon sessions of the next day and about 10 minutes at the reception. I had to be excused from the rest of the remaining week because of other responsibilities including a visit to Fukushima and Okinawa.
It is my firm belief that such “Peer Mentoring” out of boarders among the people of same generation, as seen in this H-LAB, will become an important core of education in the future.
Voluntary activities of young people are encouraging in many ways and I am very pleased to see such movements. I cannot help wanting to support them wholeheartedly.
Thank you so much to all of you who have given support to the students.