Feb. 24, 2009
CU student helps spearhead U.S.-Japanese student alliance
Kayoko Hirata '11 has been named as one of only eight students in the United States to join the executive committee of the Japan-America Student Conference (JASC), a student-run organization that promotes Japanese-American relations. She is helping to plan this year's annual conference in Japan.
Hirata is a Japanese citizen majoring in city and regional planning at Cornell. Past committee members include former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who attended the conference in 1951, and former Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, who attended in 1939 and 1940.
"Without JASC, I wouldn't have been able to interact with the bright and future leaders of Japan and the U.S.," says Hirata, who also serves as JASC's executive committee treasurer. In 2008, she says, "JASC wasn't just about the monthlong conference, it shaped my outlook on the bilateral relations of Japan and the United States, but also with the rest of the world. I want to promote JASC not just to Asian studies majors but to anyone interested in the future of this globalizing community.
"After all, the two countries are still leaders in the international arena, and their 150-year history cannot easily be swept aside."
JASC's 75th anniversary conference, July 24--Aug. 21, is expected to draw more than 70 students from Japan and the United States to discuss some of the toughest topics facing the two nations. Hirata will be selecting other Cornell delegates to attend from among the four students who have applied.
At the conference, Hirata will co-lead a discussion group on such food security issues as the ethics of genetically modified organisms, corn ethanol, free vs. fair trade, tariffs and protectionism.
She has represented Cornell in JASC roundtable discussions, field trips, research presentations and cultural exchanges at Reed College, the University of California-Los Angeles, the University of Montana and Harvard University. She also served as event coordinator in Kyoto, Hiroshima and Boston of JASC Presents, which is designed to extend conference discussions into the broader community.
More than 37 Cornell students have been active in JASC since the organization was founded in 1934; nine have served on its executive committee.
Last year alumnus Tony Cardell '08 participated in JASC's new sister program, the first Korea-America Student Conference and, like Hirata, has been elected to its executive committee to plan the second conference this summer.
JASC is part of the International Student Conferences, a student-run educational and cultural exchange programs for university students.