Posted on May 05, 2016

In collaboration with the Japanese company, Marubeni Corporation, the College of Arts and Sciences at Qatar University ( QU- CAS) has organized a ten-day cultural study trip to Japan in which CAS’ students visited historical and cultural attractions in Tokyo and Kyoto.

The trip opportunity included students Ahmed Al- Jaber, Ibrahim Al Abdullah, Talal Alshamri and Abdulhadi Almarri from the Department of International Affairs, student Abdullah Al- Qahtani from the Biological and Environmental Sciences Department, student Musaab Othman Alkhtib from the Gulf Studies Center, student Abdullah Hamad Fetais from Mass Communication Department and the Associate Dean for Outreach & Engagement Dr. Khalifa Alhazaa.

The group visited Marubeni headquarters in Tokyo where Mr. Koki Kitagawa, General Manager, Regional Coordination and Administration Department Mr. Kazuhiro Konishi, General Manager, Middle East & Africa Team, Regional Coordination and Administration Department and Mr. Shohei Nagai, Assistant General Manager, Regional Coordination and Administration Department welcomed them for a meeting, followed by a reception held in their honor attended by Mr. Takeshi Kumaki, Executive Officer, General Manager, Nagoya Branch, Mr. Makoto Sakuma, General Manager, Natural Gas Dept., Nagoya Branch, Mr. Takashi Imamoto, Assistant General manager, Natural Gas Dept.  Mr. Hiroyuki Miyamoto, Natural Gas Business Sec., Mr. Jumpei Aoki, Manager, Planning, Strategy & Business Coordination Sec., Planning & Strategy Dept., Power Projects & Plant Group, Mr. Jun Kawakami, Assistant General Manager, Environment Infrastructure Dept. and Mr. Masao Uzaki, Mr. Toichi Kudo, Mr. Shinsuke Suyama, Mr. Kazuyoshi Inokuchi and Ms. Masako Inoue of Middle East & Africa Team, Regional Coordination and Administration Department.

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One of the many highlights of the trip distinguishing it from the previous year’s was the cultural courses given by professors from Tokyo University such as Dr. Namie Tsujigami where students learned in three consecutive days about many topics such as the role of women in the Japanese society, the structural organization of Japanese companies and contemporary Japanese literature through some passages from the works of the Japanese novelist, Haruki Murakami.

The group visited many of ancient and modern landmarks such as Asakusa area, the Edo& Tokyo museum in Tokyo and Kinkakuji &Toji temples in Kyoto. CAS Dean Dr. Eiman Mustafawi expressed her thanks to Marubeni, “This visit gave our students not only good insight into a different culture but also provided them with broad based benefits and outcomes”, noting that CAS strives to provide its students with international learning experiences and knowledge of different societies and cultural perspectives”.

Dr. Eiman added, “This cultural visit is part of a wider cooperation with the Marubeni Corporation to offer a range of educational opportunities for our students and foster a greater understanding of Japan’s rich culture which has evolved greatly over a millennia from the country's prehistoric Jōmon period to its contemporary modern culture that has influences from Asia, Europe, and North America”. Thanking Marubeni for their generous hospitality, Dr. Al Hazaa said: “Our students visited different cities and key landmarks in Japan. They observed a lot of Japanese culture. They also discovered how Japanese people are so proud of their history, they move forward in their productivity and modernisation though.”

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Student Abdullah Qasim Al- Qahtani said “This trip made me realize how Japanese people are very much dedicated to their work life. As an Environmental Sciences student, i benefited from their Eco friendly lifestyle; I was also impressed by the advanced techniques they use it to deal with the environment such as trees relocating machines”. Student Ibrahim Al- Abdullah said: “I’m extremely grateful that I had such an opportunity. I’ve always dreamed about visiting Japan. It was so delightful to interact with the very kind Japanese people. We also saw that the students have an excellent educational environment. Student Ahmed Al- Jaber said: “It was an amazing opportunity to experience the Japanese rich culture. As an international affairs student, my future goal is to strengthen Japan’s relations with Qatar, so I thank QU and Marubeni for this trip”.

The trip formed part of an agreement signed in 2012 with Marubeni who established a US$6 million endowment at CAS over a 5-year period. The largest-ever received by Qatar University, the donation established three faculty positions, student cultural exchanges, and a student work experience program at Marubeni’s Tokyo headquarters. An encyclopaedia on Japan written in Arabic was published jointly by both parties in December 2013 as part of the agreement with copies distributed to schools in Qatar. The encyclopedia has been extremely popular not only in Qatar, but also in other Arabic-speaking countries in the Gulf.

The agreement was signed at the time of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Qatar and Japan and was aimed at strengthening the spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation between the two countries.