The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, has signalled its intention to develop closer ties with Japan as it carries out its educational and social responsibility mandates to the Caribbean region.
On behalf of the Nippon Foundation, Japan’s Ambassador to Barbados Teruhiko Shinada recently presented the campus’ Sidney Martin Library with a number of books highlighting Japan’s history, economic conditions, life and culture during a ceremony held in the Sidney Martin Art Gallery at Cave Hill.
Speaking after the donation, which was the first of its kind, Principal of the Cave Hill Campus Professor Eudine Barriteau praised the Japanese Ambassador for his “keen interest in the academic development” of the institution and highlighted some areas in which UWI had already worked closely with Japan.
Professor Barriteau stated that through a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Osaka Gakuin University in 2009, at least one Cave Hill student, Dawn Springer, had received an opportunity to spend a year in Japan at that university.
The Japanese Association for the Promotion of International Cooperation (APIC) also offered eight students from Cave Hill the chance to spend one month at the Sophia University, also in Japan.
“So far, six students, two each in 2016, 2017 and 2018, have participated in this exercise, and from all reports, they got a wonderful educational opportunity and they came away with immense respect and appreciation for the Japanese people and their culture,” Barriteau said.
Beyond that, UWI has also invited Japanese professors to speak on matters pertaining to climate change and sustainable development and on aspects of Japanese culture. Regarding the latter, Professor Barriteau noted that Caribbean music was gaining popularity in the Land of the Rising Sun and “we look forward to hosting more professors of film, dance and theatre arts from Japan, which will strengthen our programming as we seek to establish a Faculty of Culture at Cave Hill.”
In terms of sustainable development, she said UWI’s Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), along with its Faculty of Science and Technology and Department of Economics, already had a cadre of experts in the fields of sargassum, management of coral reefs and climate change, and that they could join with their counterparts in Japan “as we seek to develop a blue economy”.
During the presentation, the UWI officials also signed a congratulatory book recognizing Japan’s newly appointed Emperor Naruhito.