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p1000643.JPGp1000647.JPG On the second day of the WEF East Asia in Kuala Lumpur, we had Japan Lunch session which (I believe) was organized by the Japanese delegation. Professor Klaus Schwab made an opening remark, followed by Mr. Motohisa Furukawa, Member of the House of Representatives, who introduced the taped speech by the Prime Minister Fukuda. The Prime Minister Fukuda talked about the significance of the current issues such as food and fuel price hikes, introduced what he planned to do at the G8 summit in July in Toyako, Hokkaido and called for the collaboration of the leaders of Asia, in particular. Mr. Furukawa also explained that the lunch served is in philosophy of the Table for Two. Table for Two is one of the very significant initiatives by the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum.  

   When the desert course was served, I began the session featuring a key note lunch speaker, Mrs. Yoriko Kawaguchi, Member of the House of Councillors and former Minister of Foreign Affairs and of Environment. She made a speech, following the spirit of Prime Minister Fukuda’s speech and made it very relevant to those attending the WEF East Asia. 

  After her speech was the Question & Answer session which I was to facilitate. (Photo on the left) I asked those present for reactions both to Prime Minister Fukuda’s and Mrs. Kawaguchi’s speech. Mrs. Kawaguchi was willing to take any questions. We also asked for the expectations the audience had from the G8 summit.  

  This type of interactive session is quite nerve-wrecking for the facilitator (me in this case!) as it requires lively exchange, sometimes with some sense of humor and also with relevance.  Mrs. Kawaguchi handled the questions very well and I felt relaxed enough to make some comments relating her responses to the remarks made during the morning session. (I was nervous, but wanted to keep it lively and smooth.)  At the end was the comment “Japan is changing as two women are handling the Japan Session”.(I think it meant that you usually do not see women do this at these events on Japan.) When everybody laughed at the comment, all I had to do was thanking the audience and close the session. 

  It was quite an experience for me, as it was the first time for me to facilitate such a major event (i.e. the event meant for every participant of the Forum, rather than the parallel sessions). I managed to do, though I must have been very nervous. I felt so exhausted about 20 minutes after it ended. (You have so much Adrenalin going when are actually doing and do not feel tired, but you feel the effect afterwards!)  I was extremely fortunate to be given that type of opportunity.  As Mrs. Kawaguchi is one of my heroes (I suppose it must heroines, and role models) I respect tremendously, I felt even more privileged and honored to be given the role. 

   The Forum ended with another happy note. Right before I left Tokyo, I contacted ICS alumni in Kuala Lumpur. After several e-mail exchanges, four of them came to have dinner with me after the Forum at the hotel. (Photo on the right) As I was scheduled to take a flight around midnight from Kuala Lumpur that night, we met for 1.5 hours or so(a little too short!).

  As I have done in the past, I make it a rule to contact alumni beforehand and try to meet them.  It was great to see four of them(see photo above)—some in the process of changing their job, their private life (one is getting married!).  We talked about their life, the Forum, and ICS and Japan. It was such a nice occasion. I greatly appreciated that they came to see me at the hotel on Monday (i.e. workday). It is always so nice to see our alumni full of life, happy and are doing great for their country, for Asia and for the world.  

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