Closing Event of JSPS Summer Program Held
Ending their two-month research stays in Japan, all the some 100 fellows from five countries gathered together again for the closing event of the JSPS Summer Program held on 21-22 August at Tokyo Pacific Hotel. Among the fellows, 60 were from the U.S., 8 from the U.K., 14 from France, 12 from Germany, and 5 from Canada.
The closing event consisted of two sessions: a reporting session and feedback session.
The reporting session was held on 21 August with two representatives from each country giving presentations on their everyday life and academic activities during their two-month stays in Japan.
The session was joined by Prof. Keiichi Kodaira, President of Sokendai, Mr. Fumiyasu Hirashita, Director for International Exchange Promotion of MEXT, and Mr. Koji Nakanishi, Executive Director of JSPS, all of whom praised the fellows for the earnest research work they conducted with Japanese colleagues at their respective host research institutions.
Mr. Nakanishi offered the following remarks:
"Before arriving in Japan, two months may have seemed like a long time to be away from your countries. But once settled in, you probably found it to be too short to accomplish all you wanted to do. At your host laboratories, you conducted experiments, did data analyses, held discussions, gave presentations, and wrote papers. Added to that, social activities, including domestic travel, might have been an important part of your mission in Japan this summer. All in all, I am sure your stays here have been full of new experiences with host researchers, colleagues, friends and host families. Some of those experiences must have been challenging due to differences in language, culture or ways of thinking. Overcoming such differences has, I believe, made your stays in Japan all the more beneficial and edifying. Today, I very much look forward to hearing many presentations on your research and life in Japan this summer.
You will now return to your respective countries, but I am sure all of you will soon come back to Japan, which is now your second home, to continue your research or start new collaborations with your Japanese colleagues. As explained in your package, "More Research Opportunities with JAPAN," JSPS will be happy to assist you in the future. Taking advantage of our Postdoctoral Fellowships would be my first and best recommendation to you, but we also have other programs to support you in carrying out international cooperation. JSPS enjoys strong ties with its overseas partners: NSF, British Council, CNRS, DAAD, and the Canadian Embassy. All of us are committed to work together on your behalf."
Following the reporting session, there was a farewell party attended by the representatives of the program's overseas partners: Dr. Christopher Loretz of NSF, Mr. Kenneth Ho of the British Council, Mr. Denis Peret-Galix of CNRS, Dr. Ulrich Lins of DAAD, and Dr. Elizabeth Theriault of the Canadian Embassy. All the fellows enjoyed an evening of sharing experiences and impressions of their summer in Japan.
The feedback session was held on the morning of 22 August. After group discussions, representatives from each group offered comments and suggestions regarding the program. Most of the comments about the overall program and the research experience it provided in Japan were very positive. Several suggestions were also offered on ways to improve the program for next year, such as enhancing its website, improving the materials used in its Japanese language lessons, and providing more information on its funding system.
After the closing event, about three fourths of the fellows returned home, while the others either continued their research or made trips around Japan for another couple of weeks.