During its first Partnerships Forum, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme signed a new cost sharing agreement with Kwansei Gakuin University (KGU) of Japan. In this new agreement, Kwansei Gakuin University pledges to support UNV’s activities in Japan. This Agreement was signed by Professor Takahiro Shinyo, the Vice President of KGU.
"Kwansei Gakuin University is a leading partner of the UNV university volunteer initiative. Through this agreement, which ensures continuity over the next five years, we enable youth to gain exposure to, and make an impact on, peace and sustainable development by working with local partners and within communities in the field," said UNV Executive Coordinator Richard Dictus.
"This cost-sharing agreement provides a stable framework that will enhance the preparedness of universities to deploy students as UN Youth Volunteers. Volunteering is an enriching experience for our students which grounds them in developments and helps them shape their future careers. Our partnership with UNV underlines our firm commitment to enable students to volunteer with the United Nations and to care for them during their volunteering assignments," said Professor Shinyo.
Kwansei Gakuin University has been a partner of UNV since 2004. During that year, one of Japan’s most prestigious private schools signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UNV to implement a UN Student Volunteer Scheme, which deployed student volunteers for assignments of about five months. From 2004 to 2012, 68 student UN Volunteers from KGU were deployed to share their knowledge and to make a contribution to development, peace and education.
Since then, collaboration has intensified and in 2013 UNV signed a new Memorandum of Understanding for a pilot project with KGU. Meanwhile, the university signed a separate Memorandum of Understanding with five partner universities and deployed 12 university volunteers from six different universities to serve in 12 countries. Among these students was Tatsuya Hayashi from KGU, who served in Samoa in the UNDP office as a Communication Assistant to support PC troubleshooting, machine set up, managing the office network and updating the website.
“I also had the opportunity to assist the Government of Samoa’s website-building project and video making. While Samoa was preparing for the Small Island Developing States Conference, which it hosted in September 2014, I advised on the development of the web site,” Mr. Hayashi said.
Kaho Matsuura was a UN Youth Volunteer from the School of Policy Management at KGU and was deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina. She explains that “Working for UNV gave me an incentive to think about my future, because while volunteering I talked with a lot of people, learned a lot and got to know different perspectives that broadened my horizons.”
Kwansei Gakuin University (KGU) is one of the most prestigious private universities in Japan which dates back to 1889, when it was founded by the American missionary Reverend Walter Russell Lambuth, M.D. in Kobe. KGU is now a comprehensive and integrated educational institute with a university, college, junior college, senior high school, junior high school, elementary school and kindergarten. It has six campuses: Nishinomiya Uegahara, Nishinomiya Seiwa, Kobe Sanda, Osaka Umeda, Tokyo Marunouchi, and Takarazuka. KGU is an independent institution for higher education, offering Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral degrees in over 35 different disciplines to a student body of about 24,000, including approximately 900 foreign students. The university maintains academic standards that rank among the highest of all Japanese universities and colleges.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide. Volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development and it benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer. UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for volunteerism globally, encouraging partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing volunteers.