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Central Washington University

CWU, University Alumnus Look to Develop International Collaboration with Okinawa

(R. to l.) CWU President James L. Gaudino presents a commemorative CWU baseball cap to university alumnus Chobin Zukeran, the mayor of Nanjō, Okinawa, during his recent visit to his alma materA CWU alumni—who is also now the mayor of Nanjō, Okinawa—recently met with university officials, including President James L. Gaudino, to discuss developing new partnerships between CWU and his city.

Chobin Zukeran, who was elected in 2009 after serving in the House of Representatives of Japan, returned to Washington with the Okinawa Prefecture Municipality Overseas Short-term Study Abroad executive committee, for which he is the chair, in conjunction with DOTE Solutions, which facilitates English-language training for Okinawan students through immersive, short-term excursions to the U.S.

The group sat down with university officials, including Gaudino, who spent time in, and developed an appreciation for, Okinawa while serving as an officer in the United States Air Force.

“It was enjoyable to hear about the current state-of-affairs there [in Okinawa],” Gaudino said. “And even more so to learn that we may be able to have students from Okinawa come to Central sometime in the future.”

His comments were echoed by Zukeran, who added, “From my experience, if someone goes abroad, they learn a lot more. That’s what I want for my students.”

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Life Katherine Frank also had a chance to visit with Zukeran and other members of the delegation.

“Collaborations, like this take time to develop,” she said, “and we look forward to moving the discussion forward and strategizing regarding next steps.”

Zukeran had not been on Ellensburg campus since he received his bachelor’s degree in economics from CWU in 1984.

“It’s totally different from when I was here,” Zukeran said, following a campus tour. “But I recognized some buildings that are still here and I was happy to see that.”

While the infrastructure has changed, Zukeran said the intrinsic nature of the university has not.

“The atmosphere is safe, it’s very peaceful, very friendly, and the people are kind,” he continued. “ I saw some students from Japan and I talked to them. They had the same feeling.”

Executive Director of International Studies and Programs Ediz Kaykayoglu served as the delegation’s host during its time on campus.

“It was great to host Mayor Zukeran and his delegation,” said Kaykayoglu after the visit. “While they expressed interest in bringing students from Okinawa to Central, we certainly would be happy to see more of our students and faculty visit Japan.”

Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, director of Radio Services and Integrated Communications, 509-963-1487, Robert.Lowery@cwu.edu

Photo: CWU President James L. Gaudino presents a commemorative CWU baseball cap to university alumnus Chobin Zukeran, the mayor of Nanjō, Okinawa, during his recent visit to his alma mater.
 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

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