We had an exchange meeting with students from PIASS and their supporters on November 29, 2019. The meeting was for Ms. Hélène Alinethu Mikanda and Mr. Octave Gahirwe Kabera, the exchange students from Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS) in Rwanda who have been studying at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS) since Fall 2019, to express their gratitudes to their supporters. More than 70 people participated in the meeting, including their supporters, Japanese and internationla students of TUFS, and high school students.
We had two sessions in the meeting. In Part 1, after the opening address by Prof. Takeuchi, our director, Ms. Mako Ino and Ms. Chika Umetsu, Japanese students who studied at PIASS as exchange students, gave a presentation about what they've learnt in Rwanda. They introduced how their lives were at PIASS and its dorm, as well as their activities outside of the university. They've learnt a lot not only in a classroom but also with local people whom they worked together.
Then, we had Octave's and Helene's presentations. They first expressed thier gratitude for helping them realize their dream to come to Japan through crowdfunding. They explained how different their lives in Japan are than the ones in their countries. Both of them talked a lot about Okinawa study tour that they went with Dr. Kazuyuki Sasaki, a senior lecturer of PIASS. The history of Okinawa after WWII seemed to impress them and give them new ideas about peace, conflict, and post-war reconstruction. Since Helene and Octave have just started learning Japanese and cannot speak it well yet, Ms. Umetsu interpreted their presentations.
You can watch Octave's presentation from below.
You cn watch Helene's presentation from below.
In Q & A session, Helene answered in details to a question about a current situation of her country, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
At the end of Part 1, Dr. Sasaki showed his gratitude to the supporters.
Part 2 started with an opening address by Prof. Jun Matsukuma, a vice president of TUFS. After that, we had free conversation time. Helene and Octave could talk with almost every attendants.
In the middle of Part 2, we introduced messages from Shukulu and Rodrigue, our former exchange students who stayed and studies at TUFS from September 2018 to July 2019.
Rodrigue sent us a video message.
At the end of Part 1, we made a big announcement about our new project: we will start a new crowdfunding project next spring. Now, we proceed with the preparations such as selecting students. The details will be announced as soon as it's fixed. We would appreciate if you could support new African students who have dream to study in Japan.