Yesterday afternoon,we had a special Forum for the Competitiveness course I am now teaching at ICS.  As many global issues such as global health, poverty, climate change etc. require the collaboration among private, public and civil society,  I wanted to invite  young Japanese who have worked for NGOs in the form of the Forum. ( will post the photos as soon as they become available.)

We had three representatives from three organizations, Human Rights Watch,  World Wildlife Fund, and Table for Two, the NGO originated in Japan.  I came to know these three organizations through the Global Agenda Seminar I run this year at Academy Hills.

I wanted to invite young people who are close to our students in age and experience.  The session started with each speaker explaining activities of the organizations each works for and then we had interactive session.   Our students asked so many questions that we ran out of time. (One of the guest speakers said that she has never seen so many hands up in the seminars!)

We also organized the wine & cheese session right after the Forum, for two purposes–one to provide opportunity for our students to ask questions and interact with the guests in casual environment, and the other, to taste wine from different countries as we did the wine cluster case the day before for the class.    I prepared wine from California, Australia, France, Italy, New  Zealand, and Chile.

It was a good session and students seemed to enjoy the interaction.  I learned a lot about the organizations as well as the motivations/headaches of the young people who are doing social activities.  Students asked many pointed (and constructive) questions as well.   It is always good to have people who are actually doing it, in addition to the cases and video of the speakers.  (Unfortunately the guest we scheduled to have for the session on EU tomorrow cannot be back in Tokyo due to the flight disruptions caused by volcano in Iceland!)