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Yesterday, February 5, was the day of the second session of Global Agenda Seminar Series (GAS)2012.  At  the first session held in mid January,  Dr. Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Fellow of Tokyo Foundation, our guest, explained the importance of Grand Strategy for the country (and company, individual) and how the Op-Ed is written and for what purposes. For the second session, we selected Trans Pacific Partnership(TPP)  as the topic for discussion.

As always, our assignment was some basic reading about the topic  and the written report.    This time, we assigned the participants into three groups–one representing the U.S., another China and the other Japan.  Each participants was asked to write  one’s view about TPP from the country’s perspective they are assigned.  We made it quite open-ended so that they can focus on any aspect of TPP.  The only rule was that they need to think and state their view, from the perspective of the country each member is assigned.

I moderated the discussion.  As it was a bit difficult to get started (all in English  and it is Sunday!), I set up few rules of the game.  One was that each and every person has to speak at least once during the discussion.  The other was that they need to state who they are before they state their view.  Some took the role of business people, others Prime Minister, farmer, member of the Think Tank etc.

I was somewhat concerned before the session as I was not sure how to moderate such an open-ended session by three groups.  (It is much easier to moderate the session for the two groups–one positive and the other negative.)

After the initial awkward moment of some hesitation, however, the discussion became quite lively.  I was impressed by the willingness of each participant to speak up and to argue back and forth.  As I found out later during the informal get-together with participants,   the clear view is not quite welcome, it seems, in most cases in the Japanese context. The argument and discussion is not that encouraged, either, I found.

The session ended with my comments as to the objective of this type of role play, its use and application, together with some tips on how to do.  Dr. Watanabe  made very helpful comments both for the substance and the style of expression.

I felt it was one of the best ways to spend Sunday afternoon, (it definitely beats just browsing in Roppongi area) as I spent some time thinking and discussing important topic with the people who are very motivated  to learn.  It is fun time to learn together. (I also enjoyed the informal get-together afterward organized by the members. )

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  • Comments (2)

    • Akira Ueno
    • February 6th, 2012

    Ishikur-san
    Glad to hear GAS2012 is getting excited with your facilitation that we, GAS 2010 members, were impressed so much.
    We will have a small re-union with Environmental Team members coming weekend, inviting some of TFT supporters who are undergraduate students of Waseda and Sophia Univ.
    Am very happy to connecting those people who are motivated to learn beyond generation. Definitely they are almost same generation of my daughter but I am learning from them so much.
    Will plan to connect GAS 2010 and GAS 2012 in near future.

    • yishikura
    • February 7th, 2012

    Ueno san, thanks for your comment. I was hoping some GAS2010 might show up for the get-together on Sunday. I believe we are planning the occasion so that GAS2010 and GAS 2012 could get together. I am also in the process of hosting the seminar for global career etc. which is open to everybody on March 2. Will keep you posted through the blog and facebook.

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