Leaders July 2016

Looking outward

Value of difference

A university with ties to educational institutions overseas can offer students an enriching experience, regardless of the subject they might read. There are direct impacts, resulting from faculty staff transfers, research collaborations and student exchanges. But it is, perhaps, the indirect ones—the simple interactions—that are more long-lasting.

The input that an international staff and student body provides is a valuable resource. It brings fresh perspectives, sheds light on deep-rooted issues, and inspires change, thereby enhancing the sheer fabric of the university.

A new collaboration between the University of Oxford and the Inamori Foundation is one such resource. Taking its name from founder Dr Kazuo Inamori, the foundation promotes global peace and prosperity based on the belief that people have no higher calling than to strive for the good of mankind.

Each year, outstanding achievements are recognised through the foundation’s Kyoto Prize, Japan’s highest private award for global achievement. Now, thanks to the tie-up, laureates will share their expertise through lectures, seminars and panel discussions at the university, starting in May 2017.

Staying with the topic of education, demand by Japanese to study at UK institutions is on the rise after about a decade of decline, according to the British Council. Figures show that the number of Japanese studying in the 2014–15 academic year at UK institutions of higher education is up 2% on the previous academic year. BCCJ ACUMEN explores the appeal of a British education.

JET contribution recognised
In June, the British–Japanese Parliamentary Group for the first time welcomed members of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme Alumni Association UK to its reception in London. The move is in recognition of the contribution the alumni make to UK–Japan relations. We feature highlights from the event.

Sparking innovation
In our increasingly connected world, in which many staff are under pressure to be online or on call around the clock, firms are being pressed to offer more options for staff to work smarter. This may take the form of working at a hot-desk, at home, during a commute or over flexible hours.

As organisations consider their options, so, too, do entrepreneurs. Many see the developments as an opportunity, and have become digital nomads, who use telecommunications to remotely do tasks that have traditionally been carried out in a stationary workplace. One such nomad, Helen Iwata, presented her work practices at a recent British Chamber of Commerce in Japan event.

Brexit insights
Following the British population’s monumental decision, on 23 June, that the UK should leave the European Union, this issue would be incomplete without coverage of the subject, currently one of the hottest in global politics.

We feature a message from British Ambassador to Japan Tim Hitchens CMG LVO on what the UK move means, and an analysis, by stakeholders and experts, of its possible impact on UK–Japan relations.

While much remains uncertain, what is clear is the strength of UK–Japan ties, which have been deepening over more than 400 years. These bonds—together with the adoption of an outward-facing approach—now are perhaps more important than ever.