Table Speech

“New Generation Month” Meeting
What Makes Global Human Resources? --- Towards the Development of Global Citizens

September 3, 2014

Ms. Eno Nakamura
Secretary General,
Development Education Association and
Resource Center

 I visit junior and senior high schools as well as universities to give workshops that help students think on their own. Today, I will show you some photos and want you to participate in this workshop. (Slideshow of by Development Education Association and Resource Center (DEAR) was presented, showing families in Bhutan, Egypt, USA, a refugee camp in Chad and Japan with the food they consume in one week). We make students guess which family produces the largest amount of garbage, which family has the healthiest diet and finally which family has the “richest” diet. To some students, “rich” diet means the food is readily available, while to others it means you can eat what you have cultivated by yourself. Students go through extensive discussions, based on different values. The topics range from gender roles, nutrition, export and import to garbage issues.

 I just presented you an educational activity called development education. Global issues of poverty, famine, conflicts, environmental destruction and human rights are not limited to impoverished countries but are deeply related to the Japanese society and lifestyle. The people in Japan are not immune from these issues. The development education fosters people to become well-versed in wide-ranging issues related to development and willing to participate in building a fair, harmonious and sustainable society. The term “development education” was first used by the United Nations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the field of international cooperation.

 DEAR is a NGO established in 1982 by individuals, groups and NGOs focused on the promotion of development education. Although we are a small organization with 3 permanent staff members and an annual budget of about 30 million yen, our membership totals 700 across Japan who make generous contributions. Our scope of activities include making recommendations to Japanese education policies, networking with Asian and European NGOs in the field of development education or adult education, collaborate with local leaders in Japan, including school teachers and companies, who provide development education, conducting research as well as developing educational materials. We also send lecturers who give about 150 workshops at schools and local communities every year. We have published more than 100 educational materials and documents, including “If the World Were a Village of 100 People (workshop edition)” that enables participants to understand cultural diversities in the world and “New Trading Game” that explains the mechanism of free trade with its pros and cons.

 We often come across the term “global human resources.” What is required to become a global person? If you can cope with globalization, collaborate with others to solve problems or communicate in English, will that meet the requirements? I think a global person is someone who has a holistic perspective on current issues around the world and its consequences, including conflicts, environment, human rights violations, economic disparity, poverty or employment. We must not forget that almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just 1% of the world’s population. A global person learns from history and has the ability to think critically and keep questioning. They see the world in many different ways and offer different perspectives on natural, environmental, social, economic and political issues.

 As we live in a globalizing world, we must strive to make our society a fair, just and sustainable place for all. The Four-Way Test stipulated in the Rotary Guiding Principles questions “Is it FAIR to all concerned?” I believe a global person bases his/her act on fairness, collaborates with others and gives a comprehensive solution to outstanding issues by incorporating the needs of the socially vulnerable. A global person is also capable of communicating in a constructive manner in other languages, not limited to English. Our participatory workshops take multiple learning methods, including brainstorming and role-playing sessions. Participants are keen to listen to opinion of others and to exchange views in the group.

 Let me introduce two activities that foster global human resources. One is the Japan YMCA Global Citizenship Project that aims to foster young “YMCA global citizens” willing to think globally and act locally. Students from Japan and other Asian countries deepen their understanding on global issues and make fieldtrips during the one-year-program. To conclude the program, students formulate their own action plan to be implemented back home. Japanese students tend to be shy at first but they gain confidence to voice their opinions, stimulated by students from different cultures and backgrounds.

 Another activity is the “World’s Largest Class” organized by 7 NGOs including DEAR. Children from 100 countries around the world participate in this event every May to learn about the current state and think about the importance of education. Today in the world, 57 million children are not attending school and 774 million adults are illiterate, due to conflicts, poverty or discrimination against the socially vulnerable.

 Before closing, let me highlight the significance of fostering young people with a global perspective who will shape the future. What we, the grown-ups, can do is to provide a venue for them to share their ideas, encourage them to take the initiative in building a new society and support networking with the young people in Asia to think about the history and future of this region.