Report of The 3rd Annual Open Dialogue among Six Universities
- 同志社大学 今出川キャンパス
Held by Doshisha University, the objective of “the 3rd Annual Open Dialogue between Six Universities” was to hold a dialogue for exchanging ideas among leading interdisciplinary programs of six universities with the topics “interdisciplinary education” and “future career path”. Participants include students and faculties from Kanazawa University, The University of Tokyo, Nagoya University, Osaka University, Hiroshima University and Doshisha University.
The program was divided into two days in the weekend. Day 1 was mainly for two keynote speeches, poster session and warm-up group discussion and day 2 was for student presentation. The first keynote speech was given by Dr. Yoshinori Fukubayashi of Doshisha University, introducing the Community Road Empowerment (CORE), an NGO that aims to support the road building in rural area in developing countries. He explained the “do-nou” technology and showed us a video on how his team had worked in Kenya. CORE tries to promote self-reliance initiatives to improve local people’s livelihood for poverty reduction in developing countries as well as motivate the communities to repair roads by themselves with locally available material and labor based methods. It is its particular vision that makes CORE work so well. If local people in rural area always wait for equipment from outside, the equipment they need might never come. It is significant that the “do-nou” technology introduced by CORE could allow people to utilize local materials, so they finally get a good road by themselves.
The second keynote speech was made by Prof. Karun Malhotra about technology eco-system in global business. He argued that for a global company, technology itself was not enough, since it was the business model that could sell products and lead to success. Considering the “interdisciplinary education” as the theme of this program, the first speech explained a specific case, while the second one suggested a global view of business and stressed the importance of interdisciplinarity for success of global business.
As for student group work, students from six universities were divided into 7 mix-groups in terms of university and Nationality. My group members were from Japan, China, Vietnam and Lebanon. The discussing topic of my group was “do you think you have advantage in future career compared with other students in your lab and department?” We discussed by connecting our career goals with personal experiences in the leading programs. Other groups also made presentations about advantages and disadvantages of leading interdisciplinary programs. A common concern for students was time management. The courses and activities might be too many and various that some students could get lost. Regarding this problem, it is important to remember why you started, that is, always remember your goal and choose to join the activities that benefit for your research or future career in limited time. Only in this way could we utilize interdisciplinary programs effectively.
One of the most fascinating parts of the program was to share so many unique and inspiring experiences with students of different backgrounds. One of them aimed to learn agricultural science to provide support for Vietnam’s agriculture, while another wanted to apply engineer and business knowledge to solve the water problem in rural China. Their specific goals were different but they also shared the same value: applying what they learn in the interdisciplinary programs to give back to the society.
In conclusion, I really appreciate this opportunity to join such a great activity, to exchange ideas with students in different universities and to get inspired by their unique stories. I’ve also learned about the importance of time management in interdisciplinary programs, to utilize resources effectively within our limited time to realize research goal and future career path.