CHICAGO — Tomodachi means “friend” in Japanese and DePaul University’s Global Asian Studies program will celebrate and say farewell to 23 students from Ritsumeikan University (RITS), Kyoto, at a community event beginning at 5:30 p.m. March 10 in the DePaul Center, 11th floor, 1 E. Jackson Blvd., Chicago.
This Tomodachi exchange program was inspired by American efforts to support disaster relief and recovery effort following the Japan earthquake on March 11th, 2011. A new generation of engaged, international and community-service-minded university students has emerged in both countries.
The 23 Kakehashi Tomodachi Inouye Scholars from RITS traveled across the Pacific this winter to learn about the United States and build friendships with students from DePaul University, notes Kathryn Ibata-Arens, an associate professor and director of the Global Asian Studies program, which has led the exchange program.
DePaul was selected in 2014 as the first U.S. university to lead 23 American student Kakehashi Tomodachi Inouye Scholars to visit Tokyo and Kyoto in June. This Japan-U.S. student exchange initiative honors the late Senator Daniel Inouye’s legacy in public service, civil rights and support of the bilateral U.S.-Japan partnership.
The Japanese scholars — many of whom are international business or international affairs majors with an interest in community service — will be spending their brief visit to DePaul in workshops and multicultural discussions on campus, and then participating in two community service activities in Chicago neighborhoods.
An evening of hors d’ oeuvres, music, entertainment and student presentations, along with comments from Japanese dignitaries, is planned for the farewell event. RSVPs are requested at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information at www.bit.ly/ktisjapan.