IMG_9531On Sunday, 29 March 2015, a team of nine students in the International Studies Department at Glendon College organized the Japan Symposium to create dialogue and connect communities on the topic of Japan and its relation to Canada as well as the international sphere.

Five curated panels included: History & Memory: Japanese Communities during World War II; The Economy Under Abe & Looking Ahead: Economy, Business & Technology; Youth & Pop Culture: From Godzilla to Naruto; Post-Growth Japan & Its Domestic Policies; and Japan & the World: Politics & Diplomacy. The conference was held at Glendon College, York University with over 100 people in attendance including foreign diplomats, academics, organization representatives and community members.

IMG_7465The 2015 symposium was organized by:
Alexandra Welsh – Co-Project Coordinator
Alexandra Pullano – Co-Project Coordinator
Assia Belhassan – Financial Coordinator
Andrea DaSilva – Internal Coordinator
Matthew Farrell – Logistics Coordinator
Kelly Lui – Media/Communications Coordinator
Luc Pokorn – Public Relations Coordinator
Vanessa Pukal – Fundraising Coordinator
Odmaa Sod-Erdene – Panelist Coordinator

The symposium project was initiated during the 1995-1996 academic year by a group of highly motivated students, eager to deepen their knowledge and experience of foreign countries or regions and the relations between Canada and those countries or regions. This highly demanding course has five main components: a series of seminars, the organization of an international colloquium, a field research trip to the country of study, the submission of a research essay on aspects of the county concerned, and the publication of the proceedings of the Symposium and students’ essays.

To date, the following countries or regions have been discussed: Cuba (1995-1996), China (1996-97), South Africa (1997-1998), the European Union (1998-1999), the Middle East (1999-2000), South East Asia (2000-2001), Brazil (2001-2002), Russia (2002-2003), India (2003-2004), The Great Lakes Regions of Central Africa (2004-2005), Mexico (2005-2006), Turkey (2006-2007), Egypt (2007-2008), Venezuela (2008-2009), Hispaniola (2010-2011), Germany (2011-2012), the Korean peninsula (2013-2014) and The United States of America (2014-2015). The Japan Symposium marks the 20th anniversary of this long-standing tradition.

Through engaging in this fourth-year course, students have the opportunity to combine theoretical rigour with practical experience within a flexible student-led framework to display their dedication, enthusiasm and creativity. The Japan Symposium Team through the support of YCAR has been able to publish the proceedings of the conference and student essays from the course. The team hopes that this publication becomes a helpful and engaging resource for those who are interested in Japan at all levels, as well as, an archived documentation of the process of visioning and creating this project. The conference proceedings are available here.

The Economy Under Abe and Looking Ahead: Economy, Business, and Technology panel. Lt to Rt: Lorna Wright, John-Paul Farag, Richard Beason, Bernard Wolf
Question and answer period during the Youth and Pop Culture panel
Attentively engaging in panel discussions
Japan and the World: Politics and Diplomacy panel. Lt to Rt: Donald Campbell, David Welch, Jacob Kovalio, Awalou Ouedraogo
Getting the audience involved in panel discussions
Representatives of the Japan Foundation
Iaido swordplay demonstration by Ohmi Sensei of Mu Mon Kai Dojo
Panelist Coordinator Odmaa Sod-Erdene (third from left) with panelists and moderators
Symposium volunteers

Photographs by Anthony Brum, Asha Collins and Gillian Murphy