(photo – The glorious late autumn colors at the KG University campus)
This morning members of the leadership team are attending the Kwansei Gakuin (KG) Council meeting at the main campus in Uegahara. In Japan, organizations keep track of the total number of meetings of the group, so this is the 246th meeting in the history of the council.
The chair of the KG BoT, Akira Miyahara, the former CEO of Xerox and Fuji, in his opening speech referred to the ASPEN Institute in Washington DC. Below is a description of their work.
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.
There is also a branch of the Aspen Institute in Japan. I see they hold events for high school students, it might be worth looking into. They seem to focus on week-long workshops, studying classic works and having deep conversations about leadership and human values. I think it would be great to attend one. They also have podcasts that might be interesting to listen to.
Every council meeting the various KG schools give reports on current events at the school. The first up was the Seiwa Junior College, which prepares women for careers as early childhood and elementary teachers, day care workers, etc. The second school was the KG Junior High School (grades 7-9) in our system. To start their school year, they have a mud rugby game. They spray water to make mud and the students seemed to be enjoying themselves. The head of the school played videos of the summer camp to an uninhabited island in the Okayama prefecture and the grade 9 trip to Nagasaki. They have over 700 students. It is always interesting in middle school the differences between boys and girls. In their awards for the top 10 students, 8 were girls. This reflects the fact that girls generally mature faster than boys and schools are a more conducive environment for learning for girls than boys at that age. The next school reporting was the KG elementary school. The head of school mentioned the EIKEN test results. The EIKEN is the big English proficiency test in Japan similar to the TOEFL. Many SIS students and some OIS students take the EIKEN. A grade of 1 (C1-B2 in the Common European Framework) is necessary to become an English teacher in Japan and enter an English language university program. One of the unusual school customs in Japan is the teaching of how to ride a unicycle. All grade 1 students in the school give it a go! Another school tradition is the shu-gaku-ryoko or end of school trip. All Japanese schools do this and the grade 6 students of the KG elementary school go to Vancouver, Canada. This is a big trip for the kids as for many, it is their first time away from home for such a long time. Finally, the Seiwa Kindergarten , a school of 230 students ages 3 to 5, gave their report.
The council had a second meeting to choose members of the council to the Board of Trustees.