The Japanese city of Nikko, with its temples of great beauty and which give it the title of World Heritage of Humanity, is the scene of the Chile Japan Academic Forum, organized by Universidad Católica, Universidad de Chile and University of Tokyo. Likewise, representatives of the universities of Magallanes, Valparaíso, O’Higgins, Aysén and Adolfo Ibáñez are participating; as well as their Japanese counterparts from Tsukuba, Kyoto, Nagoya, Tohoku, Tokyo Medical Dental University and Tokyo University of the Arts.
“The forum has proven to be a catalyst for international cooperation with Japan for UC and the other participating universities,” said President Ignacio Sánchez at the Forum’s opening ceremony, adding that “a fundamental part of UC’s strategy is to link with the best universities in the world, so creating collaborative projects and links between academics and strategic partners from both countries, especially with a highly developed and dynamic continent like Asia, synchronizes very well with the objective, which it also translates into advances and quality of research. ”
There are about ninety Chilean academics and researchers who, along with their Japanese counterparts, are meeting between September 25th and 28th, in nine workshops that address a wide variety of topics: Astronomy and astronomical instruments; Seismology, Earth Sciences and Natural Disasters; Biological Sciences and Biomedical ICT Applications; Sustainable management and conservation of marine ecosystems; Applied mathematics and modeling; Ecology, biodiversity and sustainable development; Social sciences and Humanities, Latin American and Asian Studies; and Arts, science and innovation.
“The value of participating in this meeting is immense, since we are addressing problems that are global, therefore working with others to understand the complexities of the systems is fundamental. To be able to incorporate diverse perspectives to tackle different challenges that transcend the optics not only of a discipline but of a culture; incorporating different visions, perspectives and approaches to the phenomena allows us to have a better understanding and achieve solutions to these challenges ”, comments the Vice-President for Research Affairs, Pedro Bouchon.
The Chile Japan Forum, which consolidates more than two decades of joint collaboration, was born from the U. Tokyo Forum, an academic meeting that the main university in Japan has developed in different parts of the world. In 2013 was held for the first time in Latin America, both in Santiago and São Paulo. Then, the forum was held in the Japanese capital in 2014, with the participation of Chilean academics and scientists; and two years later, in Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas, with the support of the University of Magallanes. On this occasion, parallel forums are also being held with El Colegio de México and the University of São Paulo, forming a broader collaboration between Japan and Latin America.
As the UC Director of Research Affairs Office, María Elena Boisier, explains, this forum, like others that have been developed with other countries, “seeks to result in collaboration in different areas between researchers from participating universities. This includes visits by professors from both sides, exchange of undergraduate and graduate students, and applications for research, collaborations and joint publications, among others ”.
It is precisely about generating new knowledge in areas of mutual interest. As Rodrigo Cienfuegos, professor of Engineering and director of Cigiden, recounts, “this is the second time that we actively participate in the earth sciences workshop, which involves earthquakes, tsunamis and engineering, thinking about the estimation of the impact of the disasters generated by these events. And it has been very interesting because they are themes that are being worked on in parallel in Chile and Japan, in the face of threats that are common; and there are several of our graduate students who have been able to come to do internships, as well as we are receiving a doctoral student from the University of Tokyo ”.
Likewise, the academic of Geography and director of the UC Asian Studies Center, Johannes Rehner, comments that “for two years we have been working with our Japanese colleagues on issues of global history and a certain perspective on trans-Pacific relations. There are interesting topics to explore, such as the flows that occur between Asia and America, which can be of different types, such as financial, economic, migrant or knowledge.
The Forum has the support of the Ministries of Education of Chile and Japan, through their respective Internationalization agreements, allowing the strengthening of cooperation between both countries, as well as increasing cultural knowledge, joint research, the exchange of students and academics, from both regions, and the development of new areas of collaboration. Likewise, the Embassy of Chile in Japan received the Chilean academics, offering them a warm welcome and also participated in this meeting, which will be held again in two more years.