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AUW and the University of Tokyo sign an MoU establishing a formal partnership between the two institutions

Posted on March 7, 2024

Written by AUW

Thursday, March 7, 2024 – Chittagong, Bangladesh –  At the end of a successful week-long student exchange program, leadership officials from the Asian University for Women (AUW) and The University of Tokyo (UTokyo) signed a Memorandum of Understanding at a ceremony held at the AUW MM Ali campus located in Chattogram, Bangladesh.

The MoU solidifies a formal partnership between the two institutions encouraging cross-cultural exchanges and learning collaboration as well as international opportunities for students.

Over the last week, students at the respective universities have participated in a joint exchange program centered around the theme of “Immigration, Migration, and Refugees: Movement of People in the 21st Century”. The program was sponsored by Fast Retailing Foundation and was hosted by AUW, with UTokyo students and faculty members travelling from Japan to Chittagong, Bangladesh. Renowned experts in the field of migration delivered lectures focusing on the positive and negative economic, demographic, cultural, and political impacts of migration and refugee influx. Program participants also embarked on local excursions providing them with a chance to experience the rich culture of Chittagong and learn from one another by experience sharing and meeting with AUW student communities from different minority groups and crisis-stricken countries.

Guests, students, faculty, staff and local media attended the MoU ceremony with speeches given by university leadership executives and program sponsors including: Dr. Rubana Huq, Vice-Chancellor of AUW; Dr. Kaori Hayashi, Executive Vice President of UTokyo; Dr. David Taylor, AUW Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor; Dr. Yujin Yaguchi, Vice President of UTokyo and Director of Centre for Global Education; and Mr. Yoshio Ishida, Secretary General Fast Retailing Foundation.

Dr. Hayashi said “Despite the apparent differences between our institutions—with UTokyo being a large, research-focused university in a major global city, and AUW being a smaller women’s college in a rapidly developing region—the shared passion and curiosity among our students bridge these gaps. They have formed deep and meaningful connections, proving that our diversity is our strength.

We are now committed to providing long-term opportunities for our students to immerse themselves in each other’s campuses and cultures. This initiative is not just about forming friendships; it’s about preparing our students to lead in a world fraught with conflict, poverty, and environmental challenges.”

Dr. Huq said “Being the only university in Asia to be partnering with University of Tokyo is an honour. The bondage will grow based on exchanges, teaching and research. We hope that this collaboration will, in the likeness of “komorabe”, bring in light to the branches of knowledge.”

Selected students from each university also took to the stage and reflected on their shared experience in the exchange program, celebrating the lessons learnt and the friendships made. For many of the UTokyo students it was their first time leaving Japan and they praised the warm welcome and friendly greeting they received at AUW making them feel comfortable and accepted from the first day.

The Universities are already planning their next student exchange program to be hosted in Japan, and the signing of the MoU further solidifies a long-term partnership with enlightening opportunities ahead.