Japan

A group of educational leaders from various Japanese universities is visiting the University of Iowa to discuss Iowa’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) initiative and garner strategies and tactics to develop a STEM program in Japan.

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Two Japanese Kizuna Fellows shared their touching first-hand accounts of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 in a presentation Monday, August 5, at the Johnson County Crisis Center where the two are interning for the summer. In addition to their personal experiences, they discussed the food-bank system of Japan and the struggles of their home communities to return to normal life.

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Emi Inomoto and Misato Abe from the Kizuna Project will share their unique experiences of living in Japan during the deadly earthquake and tsunami of 2011 in a presentation Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, from 10-11 a.m. at the Johnson County Crisis Center. The event is free and open to the public.

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Have you been on a mission trip? Hosted a foreign visitor in your home? Helped someone master the English language – or had them help you learn another? Did you visit another country with your family and make a new friend? Were you part of a semester abroad program? If you have participated in an activity (organized or casual) that helped you meet and interact with people from another part of the world, the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy (USCCD) invites you to enter photographs as part of its photo contest.

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Iowa’s universities boast graduation rates above the national average, but have produced mixed results in pursuit of goals set by the Iowa Board of Regents, which governs the universities.

The University of Iowa, where more than 48 percent of students finish school in four years, performed the best. Its graduation rate is just shy of a 48.3 percent goal. The regents want each university to achieve its graduation goals by 2016.

Students, however, sometimes prefer to pay more to stay in school longer. Internships, semesters abroad and demanding majors like engineering are all common reasons for not graduating in four years, students and university officials said.

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What do the University of Iowa’s 1,245 Chinese students, Whirlpool appliances from Middle Amana, Johnson County’s cornfields, Kirkwood’s STEM outreach and West Liberty’s Dual Language Programs have in common?

They represent some of Iowa’s considerable assets in the world-wide competition for growth and prosperity. Thanks to advances in communication and transportation, globalization means that Iowa is more connected to and affected by world events than ever before.

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a 90 second video worth? UI students submitted videos from their study abroad experiences for a chance to win cash prizes in a new video contest this year -- “Uncharted Territories.”

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In her bicycle trek across Japan last month, Iowa City resident Michelle Gin met a number of hibakusha, the Japanese term for survivors of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the U.S. in 1945.

One woman, a volunteer emergency aid worker, recounted to Gin her experience of rushing to the hospital just after the bomb dropped. The streets were filled with burned bodies and hands reached for her ankles for help as she walked by.

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The annual report for the Japan Outreach Initiative, which details educational Japanese outreach activities throughout the state of Iowa, is now published. Yume Hidaka served as the UI's Japan Outreach Initiative (JOI) coordinator during her two-year stay in UI International Programs. She completed more than 100 visits in 25 cities to Iowa K-12 schools, libraries, senior centers, and communities, bringing a deeper understanding of Japan to Iowans through interactive presentations about everything from daily life and school in Japan to common greetings and business etiquette.

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After spending half of her college career at the University of Iowa studying overseas, Michelle Gin already is an extensive world traveler with a global perspective.

Next month, though, she will see the world from an entirely different vantage: atop her bicycle. The Iowa City woman is one of about three dozen activists from around the world set to pedal across Japan in August on a two-week, 300-mile trek that will take her from Nagasaki to Hiroshima in the name of global peace and the end of nuclear proliferation.

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