"Global Environmental Studies in Asia" symposium held at Kyoto University (26–28 November 2019)

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From 26 to 28 November, the "Kyoto University International Symposium on Education and Research in Global Environmental Studies in Asia" took place at Shiran Kaikan on the Medical School campus. The event was organized in conjunction with the "Kyoto University Environmental Innovator Program – Cultivating Environmental Leaders Across ASEAN Region", supported by the science ministry MEXT. A total of 269 people attended, of whom 244 were from 32 universities, and 25 from 20 other organizations, collectively representing 17 countries.

The symposium opened with an address from KyotoU President Juichi Yamagiwa, followed by greetings from the dean of the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies (GSGES), Dr Shinya Funakawa. Keynote lectures were then delivered by Mr Istu Adachi, director-general of the Infrastructure and Peacebuilding Department of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and Mr Tomoyuki Kimura, director-general of the Strategy, Policy, and Partnerships Department of Asian Development Bank (ADB). The two speakers later took part in a panel discussion with Dr Le Van An, rector of Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry, and Dr Masao Kitano, Kyoto University's executive vice-president for education, information infrastructure, and evaluation. The session was chaired by GSGES Vice-Dean Takeshi Katsumi.

The afternoon program began with 43 brief platform presentations on environmental studies topics by students and early-career researchers, followed by 73 poster presentations. A special session on Kyoto University's "on-site laboratory" initiative then took place with an introductory presentation by Dr Yasuyuki Kono, vice-president for international strategies, and reports on seven of the laboratories established under the initiative, each delivered by one of its representatives.

Afterwards, an evening reception was held at the Kyoto University CO-OP Yoshida Dining Hall, including gift presentations to the participating overseas universities, an individual photo session for each institution, and a research presentation award ceremony.

The symposium's day-two morning featured two sub-sessions taking place in parallel: "Agro-Environmental Challenges for Achieving the SDGs" and "Present and Future Cooperative Research Activities at the Kyoto University On-Site Laboratory in Shenzhen, China". Two more parallel sessions followed in the afternoon, one entitled "Frontline Activities for an International Advanced Education System" and the other, "Seed Funding: Future Plans for Collaboration for Young Researchers".

Outcomes of these four sub-sessions were shared in the closing plenary session, where participants commented on the achievements of the symposium and prospects for greater international collaboration in environmental studies. The session then came to a close with remarks from GSGES Professor Shigeo Fujii.

The three-day event wrapped up on 28 November with a study tour visiting the Kyoto City South Clean Center, Lake Biwa Weir, the Aqua Biwa museum, and Lake Biwa Museum.

EVP Kitano commenting during the panel discussion

President Yamagiwa speaking at the reception

Audience attentively following a presentation

Participants discussing at the poster presentation

Symposium participants and attendees