November 20, 2013
JICA President Akihiko Tanaka (left) and Akita University President Noboru Yoshimura, after the signing ceremony
On November 19, Akita University and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a strategic partnership agreement on mineral resources. As a prominent Japanese university with a proud tradition in the field of mining, Akita University is focusing efforts on developing human resources that are active in the international community. JICA, as Japan’s bilateral development institution, supports human resource development for developing countries on the mineral resource front, making this partnership between the two organizations significant. Held at a hotel in the city of Akita, the signing ceremony was attended by Akita University President Noboru Yoshimura and JICA President Akihiko Tanaka. This is the 27th partnership document signed by JICA with a university, as well as the first agreement on the mineral resource front and the first in the six Tohoku prefectures.
Akita University is one of the few institutions of higher education in Japan with a mining educational program. In 2014, they will open a new Faculty of International Resource Sciencesto develop human resources that can be active internationally in the mineral resource field. The university has a track record of implementing actions independently and pro-actively such as the improvement of resource development capacity at universities and other institutions in resource-rich countries such as Botswana in Africa. JICA, on the other hand, has a history of supporting the compilation of mineral resource information and development strategy formulation in developing countries. However, it has not been easy for JICA to find Japanese experts who can provide technical guidance for cooperation on the resource front.
It is expected that with the conclusion of this partnership agreement, the strengths of Akita University and JICA will be utilized in a way that promotes effective project implementation.
Under this partnership agreement, Akita University and JICA will strengthen their partnership, cooperate on sustainable mineral resource development and socioeconomic growth in developing countries, and promote the stable supply of mineral resources to the international community. Human resource development will also be promoted to foster positive attitudes toward Japan so as to build strong relationships between Japan and developing countries, and to build bridges for Japan to acquire mineral resources. The concrete partnership programs may include:
1. Accepting Akita University students as JICA interns, as well as dispatching them to developing countries as JICA volunteers,
2. The acceptance by Akita University of administrators and university teachers from developing countries as JICA trainees,
3. Participation in JICA study teams by teaching staff members at Akita University, and support for forming JICA international cooperation projects,
4. University enhancement projects for teacher training and curriculum improvement in developing countries,
5. Support for lecturer dispatch from JICA for partnership lectures at Akita University, along with seminars and symposia, and
6. Cooperation for promoting participation in JICA volunteer projects and for citizen-participation projects by Akita University personnel.
At the signing ceremony, Tanaka said, “New academic research and cooperation are vital for the new challenges that the world faces,” and expressed his hopes for the partnership with Akita University toward global education and research institutions on the mineral resource front.
Yoshimura said, “With our new Faculty of International Resource Sciences opening next year, Akita University will play a part in Japan’s mineral resource diplomacy in terms of human resource development. With this JICA partnership as a starting point, we look forward to participating in this national effort.”
The conclusion of this partnership agreement will not only strengthen the partnership between Akita University and JICA, but it is also hoped that the agreement will further international cooperation activities in Akita Prefecture, led by Akita University, and contribute to globalization and development in the prefecture.