September 12, 2011
JICA's President Sadako Ogata (right), and Tadashi Takizawa, Sophia University President, exchange copies of the agreement.
Today, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Sophia University concluded a strategic cooperation agreement on international cooperation that establishes a framework required for international cooperation to developing nations and regions with the objectives of improving the quality of international cooperation projects, making international contributions, and contributing to academic research and education development.
In 2013, Sophia University will celebrate its one hundredth anniversary, and it has been seeking a partnership with an international agency since 2009 as a part of its commemorative project "21st Education and Study International Liaison Project toward Solution of Global Issue" The conclusion of the agreement with JICA is one of the most effective examples of specific actions the university has taken aimed at internationalization and social contribution, which are university principles.
To enhance cooperation to diversifying developing regions, JICA has created a "strategic partnership drive" and is working to create a framework to utilize the theoretical and practical knowledge in the field of aid that universities have accumulated as institutions of research and education. The assessment of the situation in the Middle East since the Jasmine Revolution of this past January, and responses to it, are particularly urgent matters, and from this perspective, the strengthening of the partnership with Sophia University through this recent agreement is significant.
Sophia University and JICA have a history of cooperation in important projects, including the acceptance of international students with Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development Scholarships (JDS). Through the conclusion of this agreement, both organizations will build a more systematic cooperative relationship to effectively and reliably move in the direction they have mutually chosen.
President Ogata (right) at the press conference following the signing
JICA and Sophia University will co-sponsor a public symposium for thinking about the situation in the Middle East and the future of Japan at Sophia University on September 27, 2011, as the first partnership project since the conclusion of this agreement. Experts from Japan and other countries have been invited to the symposium to discuss the relationship between Japan and the Middle East since the energy crisis of the 1970s, as well as to debate the background of the upheaval of the Arab Spring in the Middle East and the effects that future developments may have on Japan.