USIU-Africa takes part in Japan-Kenya cultural exchange luncheon

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By Dr. Quin Awuor

The Embassy of Japan in Kenya recently celebrated their annual Japan-Kenya Cultural Exchange at the Japanese Ambassador’s Nairobi residence, and invited the University in addition to two professors from the University of Nairobi. The purpose of the invitation was two-fold: to promote cultural exchange between Kenyan universities and the Embassy, and to have a forum at which there could be an exchange of views and information on matters relating to university education, control and prevention of COVID-19.

The delegation from the USIU-Africa team was led by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs, Prof. Amb. Ruthie Rono, who was accompanied by Dr. Katsuji Nakamura, a lecturer in Japanese Language, and Dr. Quin Awuor, the Acting Chair of the Chair Department of Languages &Literature.

Speaking during the event, Prof. Rono noted that the event was significant in the strengthening of ties between the embassy and the University.

“USIU-Africa was one of the first universities in Sub-Saharan Africa that began offering Japanese courses as early as 1994 within its department of Languages and Literature. What makes this visit even more special for us is the fact that some of the officers at the Japanese Embassy studied at USIU-Africa,” she said.

“Out of all Kenyan universities, USIU-Africa has the highest number of exchange programs with partner universities in Japan namely: Soka University, Kansai Gaidai, APU, and Yamanashi Gakuin University. Our students are drawn to studying Japanese because of their interest in anime, manga, Japanese traditional culture and technologies,” she added.

Reiterating Prof. Rono’s comments, the Japanese Ambassador, Prof. Horie noted that the Embassy was proud of its continued association with USIU-Africa, and that it would find ways to continue working together with the University.

“The Japanese Embassy gave USIU-Africa a grassroots grant that financed and equipped the current Japanese language classroom. The establishment of a Japanese club on campus has played a critical role in organizing various events and invitations of Japanese Embassy officials through the Dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences to come and deliver special lectures to Japanese language classes. Further, the USIU-Africa Japanese class and club through support from the Japan Information and Culture Center has continually organized several cultural demonstrations especially during the COVID-19,” he said.

During the event, Amb. Horie and Madam Horie, showcased elements of Japanese culture such as Chado (Japanese tea ceremony), Ikebana (flower arrangement), in addition to performing Japanese English and Kiswahili songs.

In his final remarks, Amb. Horie thanked all the professors from USIU-Africa and the University of Nairobi for gracing the occasion with their presence. Similarly, Prof. Rono assured the Japanese Ambassador of USIU-Africa’s continued collaboration and partnership.

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