International exchange programs organized by the Graduate School of Economics concluded (31 August-20 September 2014)

Published on

During the summer break, the Graduate School of Economics organized two international exchange programs: Field Research in Thailand 2014 and Summer School at GSE.

Field Research in Thailand

The Field Research in Thailand program took place from 31 August through 12 September with the participation of 10 Kyoto University students -- seven from the Graduate School of Economics (GSE), and one each from the Graduate School of Agriculture, the Graduate School of Asian and African Studies, and the Faculty of Education.

The first half of the program was held in and around Bangkok in cooperation with Pridi Banomyong International College (PBIC), Thammasat University. In order to gain a multi-dimensional understanding of the host country, the students attended lectures and toured various locations, visiting cultural sites in Bangkok and the old capital of Ayuthaya, Nong Khae Industrial Estate and a food-processing complex owned by Charoen Pokphand Foods, both of which are located in Saraburi Province, and a supermarket in Bangkok operated by AEON Thailand. In addition, nine KU students took part in an international workshop with 14 local graduate students -- 11 from Thammasat University and three from Chulalongkorn University. The students gave presentations about their respective research topics and engaged in a discussion, getting to know each other in the process.

The second half of the program took place in the province of Phuket, and included visits to local government offices, agricultural sites, and civil society organizations. The students interviewed the governor, attended a lecture given by the chief of the Phuket Provincial Employment Office, and engaged in a discussion with the vice-chief of Phuket Agricultural Office, seeking to obtain a multi-layered perspective on pressing local issues and government projects underway in the province. They also toured a pineapple farm, a natural rubber farm, and an organic goat farm to gain insights on local agriculture. Finally, they visited a waste management NGO and a community-based learning center to learn and ponder the role of civil society organizations.

Summer School at GSE

The Summer School hosted by the GSE ran from 13 through 21 September. Fourteen graduate students of Pridi Banomyong International College (PBIC), Thammasat University -- from the countries of Indonesia, Myanmar, South Korea, and the United States, as well as Thailand -- participated in the program, in which they were joined by students and staff from different units of Kyoto University.

The program consisted of lectures and field trips focused on developing a thorough understanding of the efforts underway in Japan and ASEAN countries to build a sustainable environment. The lectures, given by professors from various units of Kyoto University, covered Japanese culture and history, corporate governance and industrial competitiveness in Japan, political economy and development issues in the ASEAN region, and the Japan-ASEAN relationship, as well as sustainability issues. The lectures and field trips were carefully scheduled to enable participants to examine both theory and practice side by side, as well as their inter-linkages.

For example, the lecture on Japanese history and culture was followed by a trip to the Kiyomizu-dera Temple, where the students watched the Blue Dragon Dance, before walking along the meandering historic streets to Maruyama Park and Yasaka-jinja Shrine. The lectures on Japanese industries, meanwhile, were complemented by visits to the Nishijin Textile Center and the Kyocera Museum. The final excursion took place after a lecture on agriculture and food issues, and involved a visit to Ozaki Farm in Nose Town, Osaka Prefecture, where they met Mr Ray Ozaki, one of the pioneers of organic farming in Japan.

At the Closing Ceremony, GSE Dean Takekazu Iwamoto presented each student with a certificate of completion. The ceremony was followed by a dinner buffet, where participants enjoyed different types of Japanese cuisine.

KU students in Ayutthaya

Talking with a pineapple farmer

Learning about AEON Thailand

An interview with the governor of Phuket Province

PBIC and KU students on a sightseeing tour of Kyoto

A Summer School lecture for PBIC students

At the Summer School Closing Ceremony