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(Mar 1, 2021) Chicago Akamon-kai Holds Online Meeting inviting Professor Shohei Koide and Research Assistant Professor Akiko Koide

The Chicago Akamon-kai held an online meeting on Feb 20, 2021, inviting Professor Shohei Koide1,2 and Research Assistant Professor Akiko Koide2,3 who gave presentations about COVID-19 vaccines. The views and opinions expressed in the presentation were solely those of the presenters.

Both Dr. Shohei Koide and Dr. Akiko Koide provided data-based evidence for several frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccines. They also kindly provided their scientific views on specific questions from the participants so that the participants clearly understood the benefits and risks of the vaccines (both knowns and unknowns), as well as the risks of not taking a vaccine (often not told by the media), and common knowledge gaps. It was also interesting that there appears to be a clear gap in the recognition of the benefits and risks of the vaccine, either implicit or not, between social groups who are willing to and unwilling to take a COVID-19 vaccine.

The second half of the online meeting was two sets of 20-minute breakout sessions with groups of 5~7 participants assigned to each room for close communication and interaction.
More than 30 members including honored guests joined this event. Participants’ backgrounds were diverse, ranging from graduate students at the University of Chicago to corporate employees. Alumni belonging to San Francisco Akamon-kai and other UTokyo alumni associations were also warmly welcomed.
Though in-person communication is severely restricted this year due to COVID-19 crisis, they hope to continue to deepen their fellowship by using online meeting tools.

(1. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine 2. Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health 3. Department of Medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine)
  

(Feb 22, 2021) Satsuki-kai America Holds Online Meeting inviting Mr. Tomohiko Okuda, Co-Hosted with FUTI (Friends of UTokyo)
-Young Professional Dialogue Series: “Urban Sanitation and International Development: Future of Decentralized Infrastructure” 

On February 11, 2021, Satsuki-kai America and Friends of UTokyo invited Mr. Tomohiko Okuda, to discuss online the abovementioned topic. He is currently enrolled in Harvard University’s Master’s Program in Public Administration and MIT’s MBA program. He is a 2020 recipient of Ito Foundation U.S.A.-Friends of UTokyo scholarship.
 
According to Mr. Okuda: The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of densely populated areas to infectious diseases as well as the existence of vast disparities in modern society. While public health in cities in developing countries plays an important role in controlling the spread of infectious diseases, the provision of viable public health is one of the most difficult development challenges to solve. Especially in urban slums, it is often difficult to construct even the basic sewerage system due to costs, legal issues and other constraints.  
 
In his talk, Mr. Okuda discussed his experience in Kenya undertaken under the fellowship at Sanergy, which not only builds toilets but also collects and converts waste into fertilizers and insect-based animal feeds. His talk also included a discussion of the latest trends in infrastructure development.
[http://www.sanergy.com/
 
 
A total of 25 alumni and others joined this online event, including ten UTokyo undergraduates who were “visiting” New York on Zoom under UTokyo’s Hands-on Activities program. An active Q and A session took place with many questions asked about the urban sanitation in Africa as well as Mr. Okuda’s international career. The meeting concluded with a standing ovation, and attendees wishing Mr. Okuda much success in his undertaking.
 

(Dec 11, 2020) Chicago Akamon-kai Holds Online Meeting inviting Kenichi Okada, the Consul-General of Japan in Chicago

The Chicago Akamon-kai held an online meeting on Dec 7, 2020, inviting Kenichi Okada, the Consul-General of Japan in Chicago. Kenichi Okada gave a presentation entitled: “US Presidential Election 2020 and relationship between Japan, US and China”. The views and opinions expressed in the presentation were solely those of the presenter.

Kenichi Okada shared his insightful perspectives on the US presidential election 2020 highlighting the state of Wisconsin, one of the hottest historically swing states in the US presidential election, where Joe Biden won by just 0.6%. He explained a number of different positions which later he elegantly integrated into his own interpretation. He also touched upon how Trump’s campaign was compared to Biden’s. All his insights were very interesting, particularly because they are based on not only his diplomatic legworks but also a social psychological approach. The second half of his presentation about the relationship between Japan, US and China, followed by an interactive Q/A session, were also very insightful.

A total of 26 members including honored guests joined the event. Participants’ backgrounds were diverse, ranging from graduate students at the University of Chicago to corporate employees. Participants from outside Akamon-kai were also warmly welcomed.

Though face-to-face communication is severely restricted this year due to the COVID-19 crisis, they hope to continue to deepen their fellowship by using online meeting tools.

(November 24, 2020)  UTokyo Alumni Association of Nepal Holds a General Meeting and a Seminar Online

UTAAN (UTokyo Alumni Association of Nepal) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Seminar called Benkyokai on 21 November 2020. It was conducted using the ZOOM platform because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first part of the program, AGM, was conducted by alumni members in the Nepali language, where the past activities of UTAAN were reviewed, forthcoming plans were discussed and the new Executive Committee's (EC) 11 members led by Mr. Ram Prasad Bhandari with three advisors were elected for 2020-2022 period.

The second part of the program was the Benkyokai in which participants also took part along with the alumni members. The key presentations of the event had three distinct components: (i) Three recent graduates, who graduated in September 2020 made presentations highlighting their education, their plans to apply what they learned and anticipated support from the senior alumni and other agencies; (ii) Dr. Dipendra Gautam, UTAAN EC Member and a health expert, presented “COVID19 and Nepal's Response — A Reflection”; and  (iii) Mr. Kiyokazu Tomoyoshi, Director at the UTokyo Alumni Office, presented the recent initiatives of both UTokyo as a whole and the UTokyo Alumni Office.

In total, 29 participants attended the program, including the invitees from JICA Tokyo and Nepal, World Bank/Washington, and UTokyo/Japan. Although the physical meeting was strictly restricted by COVID-19, online tools made it possible to invite the people from different parts of the world.

 

(October 21, 2020)  Hands-on Activity Programs to be held ONLINE for coming Winter/Spring

The Hands-on Activity Programs, which started in 2012, are for giving UTokyo undergraduate students the opportunity to be exposed to lifestyles and sets of values different from their own.

In 2020, summer programs were completely called off due to the impact of COVID-19. However, it was decided that some programs are to be carried out ONLINE for the coming winter/spring, and the applications have started this month.

A total of 17 programs are available, including 7 overseas programs, out of which the following 6 programs are to be offered by UTokyo Overseas Alumni Associations:

1. Visiting China and Student Exchange
2. Learn business in Singapore
3. Experience London as a European business center
4. Current UAE
5. Visit UTokyo alumni who are professors at Harvard Medical School
6. Visit professors, researchers and students who are UTokyo alumni
https://www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/en/alumni/hands-on_activity.html

(October 1, 2020)  Chicago Akamon-kai Holds Online Meeting, Inviting Kyoto U. Associate Professor Tatsuhiko Inatani

The Chicago Akamon-kai held an online meeting on Sep. 25, 2020, inviting Associate Professor Tatsuhiko Inatani (Graduate School of Law, Kyoto University) who gave a keynote lecture entitled "Rule of Law in Society 5.0 - Governance Innovation & Beyond."
Associate Professor Tatsuhiko Inatani explores a new, suitable and sustainable governance system of AI technologies development for Society 5.0. He made a comprehensive and philosophical presentation including topics such as: 1) features of Society 5.0; 2) relationship and interaction between humans and technologies; 3) limitations and issues of traditional governance systems and hazard-based regulation; 4) introduction of co-regulation; 5) potential utilities, limitations and issues of risk-based regulation; and 6) future perspectives of "Rule of Law." Throughout the presentation and Q&A session, he impressively provided many actual case examples and their underlying historical narratives. He highlighted how largely diverse each country’s thinkings are, despite this being a global issue, not a local/regional issue. He also stressed the importance of further global international discussion, adding that Japan is expanding its presence at international conferences including OECD. 
A total of 14 members, including honored guests, gathered. The participants’ backgrounds were diverse, ranging from graduate students at the University of Chicago to professionals and corporate employees. Participants from outside Chicago, such as the East Coast as well as Japan, were also warmly welcomed and actively participated in the discussions.
Though face-to-face communication is severely restricted this year due to the COVID-19 crisis, they hope to continue to deepen their fellowship by using online meeting tools.

(August 20, 2020)  Online Dialogue with Ms. Akiko Sakaedani: “Do you hear the sound of hope? -- Starting a children’s radio program in Rwanda” to be Co-hosted by Satsuki-kai America and Friends of UTokyo (FUTI)

Satsuki-kai America and Friends of UTokyo (FUTI) will present an online dialogue with Ms. Akiko Sakaedani, formerly with UNICEF's Rwanda Office. She has recently published a book titled “Do you hear the sound of hope?” which discusses how she started Rwanda’s first radio program for children. https://www.choubunsha.com/book/9784811327457.php
 
Abstract
Rwanda is a beautiful country with thousands of green hills. Many families in the villages do not own a TV, and radio is the main media. Back in 2013, there was no radio programme for small children, however. It was all about news, sports, and pop songs. As a believer in Early Childhood Development, Akiko decided to create the first children’s radio programme in Rwanda.
 

Date/Time  September 12, 2020, Saturday, 10am-11:30am (EDST-USA)
  [September 12, Saturday 11pm~, Japan Standard Time]
Format  Zoom invites will be sent to people who RSVP.
Language Japanese
RSVP Required. Please RSVP by September 9, 2020, by emailing satsukiamerika@gmail.com with
1) your name, 2) email address,  3) major and year of graduation at Tokyo, 4) current affiliation, and
5) questions for the presenters.
Organizer  Satsuki-kai America
Co-organizer Friends of UTokyo (www.friendsofutokyo.org)
Photos Photos taken during the session may be used in FUTI’s online and offline publications.
Please inform the organizer prior to the lecture if you do not wish to be included in the photos.
Note The opinions expressed during the dialogue may not necessarily represent those of the organizer or co-organizer.

Biography:
Akiko Sakaedani Petrovic is an international development worker with 16 years of experience in Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. She mostly works in the areas of health communication, partnership and donor relations. She was the co-director of the Egypt Japan Education Partnership in 2019-2020, and currently works at the UNICEF Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa to coordinate the communication response to COVID-19. Based on her experience in Rwanda from 2013-2018, she published a book in June 2020 from Chobunsha publishing company titled Kibo Kikoeru (Do you hear the sound of hope?).
She was born in Tokyo, and graduated from the University of Tokyo in 2001, majoring in anthropology. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Intercultural Communication, and Master of Science in Public Health. She is married and has a son.

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