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Hyogo Prefectural Board of Education and Osaka University Special Project -- High School Students Think About International Issues Day No. 2

The 2nd "Think About International Issues Day" was held in Osaka University Hall on Friday, January 31st, 2015, by the Hyogo Prefectural Board of Education and Osaka University, with additional support by JICA Kansai.

This was the second event formed to facilitate coordination between high schools and the university since the partnership began in January of 2014. Some 240 students from the 12 Hyogo Super Global High Schools (SGH) and 6 SGH associate schools made this quite the event.

The day began with a keynote speech, followed by a panel discussion by four high school panelists, a 90 student poster session, along with other presentations, made this truly a day to see, hear, discuss and think about international problems.

The keynote speech, given by Professor MATSUNO Akihisa of the Osaka University School of Public Policy, focused on prominent international issues related to Islam. This speech centered around the increasingly difficult relationship between the Islamic community and the government in various regions, where Professor Matsuno touched on topics such as historical problems between Europe and the Arab world, the formation of global terrorism, conflicts involving Islam in southeast Asia, and the Jihad of the young.

This speech was not only easy to understand for the high school students, but it was also on a currently hot topic, and the serious looks on each of the students' faces showed that they were listening very intently to Professor Matsuno.

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Following the keynote speech, a panel discussion under the topic "What high school students want to learn in a globalizing society" was held with four high school students taking the stage and giving their individual opinions. The students respectfully shared their opinions and answered questions without the slightest hint of nerves, which seemed to inspire the onlooking attendees.

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The post-lunch poster session was also brimming with high school energy. From the presenters to the listeners and those who asked questions, the bright, earnest faces of the students were truly an impressive sight.

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During the feedback after the poster session, Osaka University Graduate School of International Public Policy Professor MATSUSHIGE Hisakazu delivered an encouraging message to the students, saying, "Your thought process has shown me just how much you all have grown, going from a micro approach to problem solving to taking that next step and solving problems head on from a more macro viewpoint. From this approach, international problems become quite difficult, and you may feel that there are topics that will be impossible to present. But it is because these issues are so difficult that there are many university professors that think very hard to resolve them. Let's solve them together."

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There was a strong sense of a feeling of relief for the high school students during the social gathering after the event, with a warm atmosphere from start to finish. Students were able to cross the boundary between high school and university and share their ideas and opinions on international issues.

With a hearty "See you next year!" the high school students left Osaka University and left us looking forward to seeing what ideas and growth the students will show us at next year's event.

Osaka University will continue to actively nurture the global human resources that will become next generation leaders.

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