Taking Mount Union College to Asia

May 29, 2008

papercranesThe Association of International Students at Mount Union College recently presented 1,000 folded paper cranes to Dr. Richard F. Giese, president of the College to kick-off the trip to Asia on behalf of the College. Click on the photo gallery to the right to follow along on the trip.

President Giese and his wife, Sandra, Dr. William Coleman, assistant to the President for diversity affairs and his wife, Ruth, and Scott Slabaugh, director of international student services will visit selected destinations in Asia from May 16 to 31. Their tour includes visits to Japan, China, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Those presenting the cranes included Brittany Rivers, a freshman psychology major of Cambridge; Taku Miyazaki, a senior business administration and sport management major of Toyko, Japan; Keiko Miyahara, a senior physics and astronomy major of Hiroshima, Japan; and Brie Towers a senior, sociology major of Streetsboro.

The folding of the paper cranes came after Miyahara organized for a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing to come and speak at Mount Union College last October. Emiko Okada shared her story as part of a Peace Forum held at the College. There is a Japanese legend that came after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 that states that anyone who folds 1,000 cranes will be granted a wish.

The President will present the cranes to the mayor of Hiroshima. With the cranes he will also present a proclamation from the major of Alliance and a key to the city of Alliance. Later, the cranes will be brought to a monument in the Hiroshima Peace Park. This will take place on May 22 during the tour of Asia.

The purpose of this trip is to strengthen relationships with Asian alumni in these countries, meet with the administration of sister institutions and establish formal exchange relationships with universities in Shanghai and Penang.

The first destination is Tokyo where the group will spend two days. They will host an alumni lunch, update the alumni about events at Mount Union and discuss internships.

They will spend May 19 in Osaka at Kansai Gaidai University where many Mount Union students study. The Japanese teaching assistant is also from Kansai Gaidai each year. Students from Kansai Gaidai also study at Mount and some Mount Union professors have taught at Kansai Gaidai as well.

The group will be working to organize alumni and attendees of Mount Union College in Osaka. They will also meet with Kansai Gaidai students who will be spending the next school year at Mount Union and with the five Mount Union students currently studying at Kansai Gaidai.

On May 20, they will go to Baika University and have dinner with alumni, former students and professors at the university.

“We generally have two or three one year students who come from their Global English department and as part of their major they are required to study in an English speaking country for one year,” said Coleman.

They will then travel to Hiroshima and visit Hiroshima Jogakuin High School to meet with teachers and students to promote the new Mount Union College Kurose Peace scholarship.

A tour with Kyoko Niiyama will be given of the Peace Memorial Park. Niiyama is the winner of the Yoshino Murakami Scholarship, which is offered to one student from her Hiroshima girls’ high school every four years.

On the second day in Hiroshima they will meet with Dr. Steven Leeper, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation. Together they will meet to discuss the possibility of establishing a formal relationship with Mount Union which would allow Mount students to study in Hiroshima during the summers. These programs would be related to the new academic concentration in the communication department know as peace communication.

The paper cranes will be presented to the mayor of Hiroshima, Mr. Akiba, at City Hall. Leeper and Mr. Shinichiro Kurose, Chancellor and Chair of the board of trustees of Hiroshima Jogakuin will be present.

They will meet at the International Center at Hiroshima Jogakuin University to discuss student and faculty exchanges. The group will also attend a Presidential Dinner held by the university.

They will travel to Eastern China on May 23 and have dinner with the Vice President of Asia Pacific of Timken Company. Mount Union currently has an internship with the Timken Company in Shanghai.

The next university they will attend is the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. Here they will discuss a student and faculty exchange program. Dr. Coleman will present a lecture on the politics of the media to journalism majors.

On May 25 they will travel to Singapore to have dinner with alumni at Esmiralda, a Mediterranean restaurant. While here, Giese will meet with Herbert Vongpusanachai, a DHL executive. The President and Mrs. Giese will also meet with alumni Marcus and Celina Smith.

They will spend May 27 in Malaysia and have dinner with alumni and discuss creating a possible Penang scholarship to Mount Union as well as internships.

Universiti Sains Malaysia will be the last university visited. Here, they will meet with Dr. Jason Tye, Associate Dean and a Mount Union alum, to discuss possible student and faculty exchange with Mount Union College.

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