UK-Japan Student Conference is a student conference between Japan and the UK, newly founded in 2016, whose aim is to foster exchanges between the two countries, starting from an active interaction amongst youth. We create an environment where students from diverse backgrounds come together to think and discuss from a broad perspective.
Who we are
We are the UK-JP Student Conference committee, assembled to organise this conference. The UK team consists of students from University College London (UCL), London School of Economics (LSE), University of Oxford, etc. The Japanese side consists of students from the University of Tokyo, Waseda University and Keio University. We are collaborating with Bizjapan, which is a student-run incorporate association organising international exchange and entrepreneurship programmes.
To build a hub for liberal academic discussion amongst youth in the UK and Japan where they can exchange ideas, broaden their vision, and establish long-lasting relationships.
We aim to create a space for cross cultural pollination and a forum for discussion on crucial issues facing future leaders amongst British and Japanese students. Our vision is to support students in establishing a long-lasting human network across borders that fosters an immeasurably valuable relationship between the United Kingdom and Japan through this student-based hub. The established bond, independent of any business interests, will surely be a life-long treasure for all the participants of this conference.
We value the idea expressed in an old Japanese proverb: ‘Ichigo Ichie’, meaning ‘Treasure every meeting, for it will never recur.’ We never know where we shall encounter the one who could bring great influence to our lives and values—thus, the friendship established through ‘Ichigo Ichie’ could be the turning point. UK-JP Student Conference will be a space for students to enter a multicultural environment unlike their own communities. We hope this conference will be a bridge providing precious encounters, having an influence on the lives of all participants.
We put emphasis on providing experiences that lead us to question our collective biases and preconceptions, and through this realise the alternate approaches towards the conferences theme.
This experience will nurture the ability to discuss matters in an international context. We want participants to bring such an outlook back to their own communities. We strive to design UK-JP Student Conference as a model of the process of ‘discussion -> realisation -> action’.
UK-JP Student Conference will be a unique opportunity for highly motivated British and Japanese students with a global awareness to come together. We bring future leaders of two nations together, so that they can exchange their thoughts and create a shared vision towards a sustainable future. The vision that we share, the life-changing experiences we provide and the diverse perspectives amongst attendees are all of immeasurable value. We strive to channel this value back into our two countries by publishing our activities and feedback.
We strongly believe and hope that UK-JP Student Conference would kindle passionate discussion and rich interaction between the United Kingdom and Japan.
Why we organise this as a “student conference”
Friendship nurtured through student life is not connected to the interest of business profit or social status. Thus, it is the place of students to develop pure and genuine relationships. We believe that UK-JP Student Conference will facilitate discussion on controversial topics, and be capable of reaching the core of the issue together. The intention behind establishing this conference is the significance in nurturing close international ties.
In addition, the experience of the student conference greatly differs from that of study abroad programmes. Whilst studying abroad students will temporarily leave their communities and place themselves in new communities in new countries, participants in the conference belong to their communities in their universities, and will bring back their experiences to those communities. In contrast to the long time the benefits of study abroad programmes take to feed back into their communities, participants will actively represent their countries in the conference, and take immediate stimulus back to their communities. Through this, we hope to create a positive cycle of mutual inspiration. We encourage participants to propagate this cycle through actively returning their learnings to their own communities.
Why between Japan and the UK?
Japan and the United Kingdom share various interesting similarities, such as the fact that both are developed, democratic island countries with a rich historical tradition. Furthermore, both countries share similar domestic problems. That having said, in terms of industries, ethical priorities, and religious and cultural backgrounds, the two countries have developed some aspects unique to each. In the end of the Edo era, the domain of Satsuma, Cho-shu, and the Edo shogunate sent a delegate of Japanese students to the United Kingdom, which was the beginning of the interaction between students of the two nations. However, although there are student conferences between Japan and China, the United States, Korea, Holland, Somalia, Kenya and many others, one between Japan and the United Kingdom remained unestablished.
Between the two countries, which whilst sharing many similarities have different backgrounds and mindsets, we believe that participants will be able to cooperate and find a unique approach to solutions to ongoing societal problems. Thus we believe that the youth of both countries engaging in active discussion on their future will contribute to their prosperity.