- What is the Wesley Foundation doing in order to nurture young leaders?
- A：Our main focus is on deepening international understanding through various international exchanges. It is our intention to nurture young people who demonstrate their leadership in international society. That is why we are offering many programs inside and outside the Center.
- Could you give us more details?
- A：A good example is our peace seminar which we run during summer where Japanese, American and Korean students get together for a week long camp to learn about historical issues which have affected these three countries in the past, while at the same time deepening their understanding of world peace through learning about peace in Asia. During the training, they will pay a visit to the demilitarized zone on the border between Korea and North Korea thus affording them the opportunity of learning about different aspects of peace first hand.
- Japanese, American and Korean students will spend a week together. It may not be easy for all of them to understand one another as their languages and cultural background differ considerably.
They are however of the same generation and share a common interest in peace so I'm sure they get will get along without any difficulty. I think it is a really good opportunity for students to learn from one another.
For the Japanese students, the seminar offers a rare opportunity to wrestle with a tough theme such as "peace" in English for a week. It would certainly be a challenging experience for Japanese students to formulate their opinions in English.
- Will the entire program be presented in English?
- A：As there are many different ethnic groups with diverse languages in Asia, English is the only language that can practically be used if they want to communicate with one another, In Japan, communication in English usually involves exchanges with native English speakers. However, it plays a very important role in communication among Asians also. Taking this reality into account is an important part of international understanding.
- Very interesting. Does that mean that all programs offered by the Wesley Foundation are in English?
- A：All overseas programs for which we provide scholarships are basically offered in English. For instance, when young women from 13 countries in Asia join the Asian Young Women's Leadership Training & Dialogue which will take place in the Philippines during winter, the only way for participants to communicate would be through the medium of English. It may not be easy to communicate as none of the participants are native English speakers. However, they will have the valuable experience of making an effort to communicate in a foreign language.
Through this leadership training, young Asian students work closely with others who are from many different countries to share their experiences and giving them an in depth understanding of gender issues facing them. With this new insights they gain, they will be able to consider women's leadership from a more global point of view.
The program itself is very comprehensive and includes workshops, lectures, cultural exchanges as well as volunteer activities. Student participants are intensely stimulated not only by communicating in English but from being exposed to different viewpoints of culture and gender issues.
- Are participants limited to university students?
- A：Leadership training, as I have just mentioned, is basically for students at universities and graduate schools. However, we also offer a program for high school students during the summer vacation. Last but not least, the Wesley Foundation offers many in-house programs at the center. Participation by high school students interested in social issues and human rights will be highly appreciated.
- Changes to the schedule for overseas programs are usually announced ahead of time. Announcement of lectures and other programs will occur a month before the actual events. Please visit our website to check up-to-date programs.
Rev. Kokai took the position in June 2013 after spending over 20 years in the United States serving as a pastor of the United Methodist Church. Using her experiences in ministry and mission, she is now actively working for the empowerment of women and youth in Japan.