The Hokkaido University Ambassador and Partner Webinar 2020 held

University News | August 11, 2020

The Hokkaido University Ambassadors and Partners Webinar was held on Thursday, June 30, 2020. Over 100 people, including ambassadors and partners, faculty members, alumni, and current students attended the webinar. This was the second edition of the Hokkaido University Ambassadors and Chairs of International Alumni Associations Meeting, first held in 2019. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held as a webinar to accommodate international participants.

Hokkaido University Interim President Masanori Kasahara imparting the welcome address at the Hokkaido University Ambassador and Partner Webinar 2020.

The first part of the meeting was the panel discussion. Interim President Masanori Kasahara welcomed the gathering, outlining the measures Hokkaido University has taken to support students during the pandemic, and thanking alumni for their contributions to this initiative. The panel was divided into two topics. The first topic was “Studying Abroad in the time of COVID-19: How Can Hokkaido University Secure and Support International Students?” with Professor So Kawanobe, Ambassador Outi Snellman, and Partners Professor Thorsten Wohland and Associate Professor Imee Su Martinez on the panel. The second topic focused on “Introduction of Activities & Initiatives by HUAP & Overseas Alumni Associations”, with Ambassador Ichiro Shintani and Partner Professor Md. Abu bin Hasan Susan on the panel.

Professor Kawanobe (Hokkaido University), Ambassador Snellman (University of Lapland and University of the Arctic), Partner Professor Wohland (National University of Singapore) and Partner Associate Professor Martinez (University of the Philippines – Diliman)

Professor Kawanobe shared the initiatives that Hokkaido University has undertaken in order to support current international students during the disruption caused by the pandemic as well as steps taken to ensure that incoming international and exchange students would be able to fully participate in lectures and activities. The other panel members shared how the pandemic has affected their universities and the consequences. Ms. Snellman highlighted that the pandemic is currently under control in Finland and that exchange students from countries with a similar status are still on track to arrive for the next semester. Professor Wohland addressed the shift the National University of Singapore has made to fully-online teaching, with face-to-face interactions limited only to where they are absolutely necessary. Associate Professor Martinez spoke about how the University of the Philippines – Diliman rose to the challenge of developing blended learning solutions that meet the needs of students from all strata of society.

Ambassador Shintani (JGC Indonesia) and Partner Professor Abu bin Hasan Susan (University of Dhaka)

Mr. Shintani and Professor Abu bin Hasan Susan spoke about how their roles as HUAPs helped them in organizing events to allow alumni to network with each other and with current students on internships and exchanges to their respective countries. The Jakarta Elm Association, which Mr. Shintani chairs, organizes many social events. He also assists visiting alumni and students on internships. Professor Abu bin Hasan Susan assists students interested in studying at Hokkaido University and invites scientists to visit and collaborate with the University of Dhaka. He is in the process of creating a Bangladeshi Hokkaido University Alumni Association.

Following the panel discussion, a number of breakout sessions were held in different languages. HUAPs and students were assigned to different breakout sessions. The HUAPs talked about their careers and experiences working with Hokkaido University in addition to answering students’ questions about various topics related to education, studying abroad, and preparing for careers.

The webinar ended with Professor Kawanobe’s closing remarks acknowledging and appreciating the attendees’ contributions to the event. As the webinar was a success, Professor Kawanobe called for a greater utilization of online networking to strengthen ties with the HUAP.

Written by Sohail Keegan Pinto