The Delegation of the European Union to Japan has been increasingly active on the public diplomacy front, organizing various events to reach out to a wider audience.

In May alone, there will be the European Higher Education Fair (EHEF), now in its seventh year, and the 16th annual EU Film Days. The former will be held on May 19 in Tokyo and May 20 in Osaka. EU Film Days will take place in Tokyo from May 26 through June 21, in Kyoto from June 2 to 24 and Hiroshima from July 1 to 13.

The EHEF, an effort by the EU Delegation and several co-organizers, including Campus France and the German Academic Exchange Service, Meiji University and Osaka International House, strives to project Europe as an interesting and affordable destination for higher education. The EU is a top destination for the millions of students studying outside their home country, and we feel there is further potential in getting this message across to Japanese students eager to study abroad.

This year’s fair will be the largest ever, with 82 exhibitors coming from 21 of the 28 EU member states. It will be held in the city of Osaka for the first time, and at both venues we will also be organizing individual country presentations — also a first.

EU Film Days is an excellent example of how we showcase Europe’s cultural diversity. This year, 25 of the EU’s 28 members will be represented at this cinematic smorgasbord, which is co-organized by the EU Delegation, EU member states’ embassies and cultural institutes in Japan, the National Film Archive of Japan, the Museum of Kyoto and the Hiroshima City Cinematographic and Audio-Visual Gallery. The lineup includes 13 films that will be shown in Japan for the first time, and while the festival mainly targets a Japanese audience, some works will have English dialogue or subtitles.

While the above are outreach events that have already become regulars on our calendar, last year the EU Delegation trialed a new project that we hope will become another public diplomacy success story: the European Literature Festival.

In November, the EU, EU member state embassies in Japan and EUNIC-Japan (the Japan chapter of the EU National Institutes of Culture network) jointly organized a four-day event in Tokyo combining readings and lectures to see whether there would be an appetite for a large-scale festival for European literature here. The reaction was very positive, and discussions are underway for a second edition in the autumn.

The EU Delegation will continue to plan projects that will help the general public better understand what Europe has to offer, why we feel it significant and how the EU and Japan might forge closer ties at all levels.

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This text was provided by the Delegation of the European Union to Japan.