Levin wraps up visit to Japan

This week, Yale President Richard Levin and 21 Yale administrators and faculty visited Japan, comprising the largest University delegation ever to make an international tour.

During the three-day trip, representatives from Yale met with Japanese academic, business and government leaders to build on existing ties and create avenues for University participation in Japan, including a new summer internship program for visiting Yale students. The delegation included representatives from the Yale School of Music, the Yale School of Management, academic departments and members of the administration, some of whose work focuses on Japan.

“We want to reinforce existing collaborations and at the same time seek out and explore new collaborations,” Assistant Secretary for International Affairs George Joseph said. “These presidential trips are first and foremost driven by faculty initiative. We go to Japan because of the sheer number of faculty projects going on and perhaps identify new ones as well.”

The new summer internship program will provide opportunities for 15 to 20 students to work in the Tokyo area next summer, Levin said. Alumni have identified 20 companies that will accept interns next summer — ranging from The New York Times to the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan — and the alumni have volunteered to find housing and organize group events for the Yale interns, said Yale Club of Japan President and New York Times reporter Jim Brooke ’77 said in an e-mail.

Levin and University Secretary Linda Lorimer met with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to discuss the development of a governmental leadership program with Japan this summer, similar to programs established with Chinese leaders. Levin said the prime minister was enthusiastic about the arrangement.

“He thought this first workshop for government leaders might lead potentially to continuation and additional programs related to it,” Levin said. “He clearly saw what we are doing this summer as a first step.”

The new program — to be led by Yoriko Kawaguchi GRD ’72, Japan’s minister for foreign affairs from 2002 to 2004 and a former classmate of Levin’s — will take place at Yale next summer, where faculty members will teach a custom educational program for the attendees, mostly ministerial officials and members of the Japanese parliament, based on their expressed interests, Levin said.

The trip is a result of a perceived need to increase collaboration with Japan, said professor of international economics Gustav Ranis, who traveled with the delegation.

“We need to strengthen our Japan ties, we feel,” Ranis said. “We want to have more exchange between Yale students and Japanese students in the summer especially.”

The week’s activities included media interviews with Levin, a luncheon with approximately 25 university presidents in Tokyo, faculty lectures at universities in the Tokyo area and a reception on the last day for all Yale alumni in Japan, which Brooke drew 220 people.

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