Eight UWI students are currently in Japan participating in a one-month exchange programme at Sophia University. The initiative which is funded by the Japan-based Association for Promotion of International Cooperation (APIC), seeks to promote international cooperation and deepen mutual understanding between Japan and various countries. Two students were selected from each of The UWI’s four campuses and together they are spending the weeks attending courses in Japanese Business and Economy, Media and Contemporary Issues in Japan and Japanese Language. Kimberly Browne and Aaron Sookram were chosen from the St Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago.
As part of a wider cooperation programme between CARICOM and Japan, the initiative also includes a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in September 2015 by UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles and President of Sophia University, Takashi Hayashita. The MOU is aimed at improving bilateral relationships that will enhance research and education at both institutions. It is also intended to expand the spectrum of academic collaboration and cultural awareness between the universities.
Commenting on the signing of the MOU with Sophia, Vice-Chancellor Beckles drew a clear alignment between the and his leadership vision for The UWI as a Caribbean university saying, "Establishing strong linkages with partner institutions, especially those with similar strategic thrusts as ours, augers well for enabling the level of economic turnaround and wealth generation that the Caribbean so desperately needs. With partners like Sophia University, we are taking UWI closer to becoming a global brand of education".
The students left for Japan on January 3rd, are expected to return to their respective countries on January 30th where they resume Semester II classes at The UWI.