UWC Signs historic agreement with Asahi and Meikai Universities in Japan
UWC’s Dean of Dentistry, Prof Yusuf Osman, recently visited Asahi University in Japan, where he helped strengthen international ties, and also delivered the keynote graduation ceremony address. He also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on academic exchanges on UWC Dentistry Faculty’s behalf with Asahi’s School of Dentistry, as well as the School of Dentistry at Meikai University.
In August 2014 Prof Ohtomo and a delegation from Asahi University in Japan visited UWC’s Dentistry Faculty with a view to establishing links - a visit initiated by the then-South African Ambassador to Japan.
The Japanese visit to South Africa must have been very positive, because it was followed by an invitation to the Dean and the Administrator to visit Japan. During this visit the Dean, Prof Yusuf Osman, presented the keynote address at the graduation ceremony of Asahi University. The graduation marked the culmination of studies for 400 students in diverse fields, including Law, Management, Dentistry and Nursing.
The overall graduation message at the graduation centred on the responsibility of graduates after graduation, especially in a world that is now regarded as a global village, implying that there will be mobility, there needs to be sensitization to cross-cultural issues and most importantly a reminder to the graduates that the whole is more important than the individual.
As Prof Osman said in his speech to the Asahi graduates: “As regards global citizenship, technological advances mean that the world is now regarded as a village – and you and I are members of that village. It is incumbent upon us to explore and expose ourselves to the richness of multi-cultural and international experiences, opportunities and ways of thinking.”
In the case of Asahi and Meikai Universities this is their first formal contact in Africa. They have committed themselves “to leading Japan’s academic, social and cultural globalization by proactively promoting academic exchanges in the field of dental service as well as offering opportunities for the younger generations to form bonds of understanding and friendship”.
This fits in perfectly with the vision of Asahi University, that which aims to produce graduates and professionals that are truly Global global citizens. And this philosophy is in line with the practice at the Dental Faculty at UWC, which – as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre – is involved in international collaboration with individuals, universities and organisations in Africa, Europe the Middle East, and the United States of America.
The signing of the agreement was a historic event. It has opened the doors of collaboration and will lead to Academic exchanges to strengthen the programmes in both countries. This agreement is the first for the Dental Faculty in the Far East and we as a Faculty are proud that it is with Asahi and Meikai Universities in Japan. Both these Universities offer programmes that are on par with the programme at UWC with a strong emphasis on “Community community service through training”.
More than just the experience of signing this historic agreement the visit was an experience in Japanese culture, cuisine and, most importantly, Japanese hospitality.
The visit culminated with a courtesy call to the South Ambassador to Japan, Ms Mohau Pheko, who is very supportive of this collaborative agreement, and has committed to facilitate logistics in this regard. The Japanese Consul-General in Cape Town has also expressed his support for this agreement.
The Dental Faculty at UWC is committed to working with all international partners to offer our students, and staff – and ultimately our patients – the best the world can offer through collaboration and sharing of resources.
“We share one world,” Prof Osman noted, “and it is in all our interests to preserve and safeguard what we have for future generations.”