The sixth edition of the Sophia University United Nations Weeks event was held in the university’s Yotsuya Campus in Tokyo from Oct. 17 to 28. Inaugurated in 2014, the event has been organized under the concept of “considering our future and the world through U.N. activities.”
The event kicked off on Oct. 18 with a “Talk on the World” seminar that sought to create interaction of students with internationally active figures. Under the theme of “Reality of U.N. and Role of Japan,” the seminar was attended by former U.N. Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa. There was a spirited discussion between Ichiro Fujisaki, a former Japanese ambassador to the U.S., who serves as a distinguished professor at Sophia University; and Yasuhiro Ueki, a former U.N. spokesman, who is a professor of the Faculty of Global Studies at the university, and participating students.
Among the highlights was the commemorative event to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Japan’s joining the U.N. that took place to coincide with United Nations Day on Oct. 24. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida as well as about 200 others attended the event.
During the award ceremony of “View on the Sustainable Development Goals” Student Photo Contest, which saw 600 entries from 50 countries, Kishida and renowned photographer Lesslie Kee presented the awards and prizes.
There was also a special discussion titled “Changing the World through Creative Powers” by Kee, singer and Sophia gradate Yu Hayami and Kaoru Nemoto, Japan director of the U.N. Information Centre, which was followed by another talk, featuring U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador Misako Konno, Director Tetsuo Kondo of UNDP Representative office in Tokyo and former U.N. spokesman Ueki.
From Oct. 19 to 28, a photo exhibition “History of Japan and the United Nations” was held to review cooperation between Japan and the U.N. through the photos provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On Oct. 19, a joint job fair for those who are seeking careers in the U.N. or in fields of international cooperation was held with the U.N. Secretariat; U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs; UNDP; United Nations Fund for Populations Activities; United Nations Children’s Fund; and U.N. Women participating.
On Oct. 21, a ceremony was held to commemorate the Refugee Higher Education Program Agreement between Sophia University and the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Japan that aims to provide scholarships for non-Japanese refugees in Japan. The ceremony was followed by a special lecture by Dirk Hebecker, UNHCR representative in Japan and the “11th UNHCR Refugee Film Festival — School Partners Film Screening,” featuring the 2015 film “Life on the Border,” which was produced by Iranian Bahman Ghobadi. The film was presented in Kurdish with Japanese and English subtitles.
On Oct. 27, a symposium titled “Supply Chain. Thinking Together with Commercial Business and NPO” was organized by Sophia University and the Global Compact Network Japan to discuss how private companies and NPOs can be involved in U.N. initiatives such as “The Sustainable Development Goals” adopted by the U.N. in September 2015.
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