26/03/2012 - The OECD has launched an initiative with the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Fukushima University and local schools for students in the Tohoku region to create and organise an event that will showcase the country’s recovery from the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake.
The students, aged between 12 and 17, from the Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures will work over the next two years with facilitators, including Akira Ikegami, a well-respected journalist and professor of Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Gad Weil, a French international stage director, to design and stage the event in Paris in 2014.
More than 80 students and 20 teachers attended the first four-day workshop to launch the project in Iwaki City, Japan. "What better way to revitalise a region than with fresh ideas from its own children?" said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. "And what better way to cultivate those ideas than through a school project to develop the kinds of skills that will serve your children for the rest of their lives: the skills of leadership, of critical thinking, of co-operation and creativity."
"You are the grass-root ambassadors of Tohoku," Japan's Ambassador to the OECD, Motohide Yoshikawa, told participants. "You will become leaders of the region, of Japan and of the world." He encouraged the participants by informing them that 2014 also marks the 50th anniversary of Japan joining the OECD. French Ambassador to Japan, Christian Masset, said, "You are the youth of Tohoku, that is to say that you have a responsibility. It is your parents who are reconstructing your region, but in the end, it is for you, and it is you who will continue. And this is the message I think you could construct and bring to France, Europe, the OECD in 2014…as citizens of the world".