Third IAfP Africa-Japan university education exchange meeting

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On 16 February 2024, Kyoto University and the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS) hosted the "third IAfP Africa-Japan university education exchange meeting" (12th Committee for Japanese Universities' International Exchange Program) in a hybrid format. The event saw participation from 30 universities — 14 in Japan and 16 in Africa — along with four other organizations, totaling 105 attendees. IAfP stands for "Innovative Africa: Educational Networking Programs for Human Resource Development in Africa's SDGs", which the two Japanese universities have put into practice since 2020 with support from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).

The meeting, conducted entirely in English, began with speeches from representatives from MEXT and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, along with a message from Professor Oussouby Sacko, former president of Kyoto Seika University. Following these, Professor Ahmadou Aly Mbaye, Rector (vice-chancellor) of Cheikh Anta Diop University (Université Cheikh Anta Diop: UCAD) in Senegal, delivered a keynote address focusing on the significance of student exchanges between African and Japanese universities.

The main portion of the gathering featured presentations aimed at students and faculty from African universities. Firstly, three Africa-born educators who had studied and were currently working in Japan — Associate Professor Christian Samen Otchia of Nagoya University, Professor Jean-Claude Maswana of Ritsumeikan University, and Program-Specific Assistant Professor Harifara Rabemanolontsoa of Kyoto University's Graduate School of Energy Science — shared their experiences in Japan, detailing how they had adapted to life as international students and grown as researchers. Representatives from Yamaguchi University, Utsunomiya University, Graduate School of Information Technology of the Kobe Institute of Computing, and Kyoto Seika University then explained their institutions' activities and strengths.

The meeting thereby served as a platform for the numerous participants from Africa to learn about university admission processes and career development opportunities in Japan.

Main meeting participants