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2021/12/03 11:30:00 Active-learning workshop on the theme ‘Onkochishin and Cultural Heritage’ for the Maizuru City UNESCO Association

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  • Posted byDepartment of Global Studies
GS Students and faculty facilitate active-learning workshop on the theme ‘Onkochishin and Cultural Heritage’ for the Maizuru City UNESCO Association

Six students from the Global Studies department joined Angus McGregor, UNESCO School coordinator for Kyoto Gaidai Nishi High School and part-time faculty at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, to facilitate a workshop on the theme Onkochishin and Cultural Heritage for the Maizuru City UNESCO Association on November 20th in Maizuru, Kyoto.

The workshop, originally planned for September but postponed until November due to the ongoing situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, was organized and facilitated by McGregor and the GS students to be an active-learning experience for the 30 adult participants, which included representatives from the Maizuru UNESCO Association and local businesses, as well as high school teachers from area high schools.

Narumi Shimamoto, 2nd year student, said, “We facilitated the workshop with the theme, “Onkochishin”, which translates to mean learning from the past to understand the present and the future. Activities were planned to get workshop participants thinking about both tangible and intangible cultural heritage in Maizuru City and how to protect these important things for the future.”

McGregor opened the workshop with a presentation on the importance of protecting cultural heritage in the age of globalization and then the 6 students each took turns facilitating the three-hour workshop, which included sessions organized around an ice breaker activity, small-group brainstorming, and presentations. Yasuhisa Higashiguchi, a 2nd year student, said, “Everyone had their own roles and responsibilities for the project. I think that is why everyone was motivated. In some sections, there were some difficulties and troubles to help participants understand what they needed to do. In such cases, all the members met to regroup and continue leading the workshop.”

Shimamoto said, “First, we went into the main part of this project by introducing how we define tangible and intangible cultural heritage. After that, we distributed some pictures of examples of culture from the Maizuru region and asked participants to divide them into tangible and intangible categories. Following discussion activities on the pictures, participants made presentations to all participants on their group’s discussion and their ideas regarding how people can protect and preserve culture for the sake of handing it over to future generations.”

According to McGregor, the students did an excellent job facilitating the workshop and interacting with the adult participants through the workshop. “After each small group presentation, the GS students provided comments and reflections on what the groups presented. Their comments were very real and insightful and showed some real engagement with the process. I think there was a lot of learning happening, for both the students and the workshop participants. In fact, some of the workshop participants commented how much they enjoyed discussing the topic with each other, instead of just listening to a speaker,” said McGregor.

To conclude the workshop the students presented on student activities at KUFS such as the Japan University English Model United Nations (JUEMUN), Community Engagement projects, and the Hult Prize. Ryo Nakatsuji, 2nd year student, presented on the recent Ukyo Voices project and shared with the workshop participants the URL codes for the project’s Japanese and English website.

Before the workshop took place, three members of the Maizuru UNESCO Association accompanied the students and McGregor to the Maizuru Repatriation Memorial Museum for a guided tour by the museum’s director. The museum is dedicated to the Japanese repatriates who were interned in labor camps in the former Soviet Union during World War II and returned to Japan via ship to Maizuru City. In 2015, 570 items selected from the museum’s collection were inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register.

Yasuhisa said, “We went to the museum that is for the Japanese people who came back from the former Soviet Union labor camps after they were released at the end of World War II. They were forced to be workers for the Soviet Union and they spent such a hard life there. They all suffered from the cold temperatures, hardness of work and poor amount of food. Many of them died because of these bad conditions. In the museum, there were figures showing how hard life was in the Soviet Union as prisoners of war. These images impressed me so much.”

Shimamoto said, “It was my first time to participate in such an event, and it was very enjoyable. We were able to plan and organize the event from scratch, which gave us a lot of inspiration. Although there were some things that we failed to do in terms of management, we would like to plan another event like this. Thank you very much for this very valuable experience!”
  • Group Picture
  • Ice Breaker Session
  • Small Group Discussion

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