March 3, 2017
A group of 13 young research associates from the Brookings Institution visited the JICA Research Institute (JICA-RI) on February 20 as part of an international exchange project between Japan and North America called the KAKEHASHI Project, promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
The KAKEHASHI Project aims to promote understanding of Japan among North American youth as well as encourage friendship between Japan and North America. The research associates’ visit to JICA-RI was realized at their request through this program. JICA-RI and the Brookings Institution have conducted joint research projects on poverty reduction and fragility, inclusive growth, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and several others.
JICA-RI Director Naohiro Kitano welcomed the young research associates and introduced JICA-RI’s profile. He then explained Japan’s development experience and its development cooperation in Asia and Africa.
In the subsequent opinion exchange session, the participants from the Brookings Institution asked how Japan’s international assistance benefits Japan itself and also about JICA’s initiatives for disaster management and refugee issues. Regarding the question about the strategies and strengths of JICA and JICA-RI, JICA-RI staff answered that it works closely with those JICA departments that implement ODA projects, thus serving as a nexus between development practice and research. Researchers and staff from JICA-RI asked for information regarding the Brookings Institution in terms of its coordination with partner organizations.
Participants from both institutions shared the issue of the “silo effect,” which refers to a lack of communication and common goals among departments in an organization. The participants from the Brookings Institution explained their efforts, which included the brown bag lunch, intranet, podcasts, and interdisciplinary network among researchers.