Teaching in Rural Japan Amidst a Pandemic

The following was written by Regan McAllister, former Fellow in Meridian’s Professional Exchanges Division. Her perspective displays how people around the world are facing the same challenges and how we can be stronger at home by understanding global issues. Last August, I moved to a small town in northern Japan to be an English Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) through the Japan Exchanges and Teaching (JET) Program. The first seven months of living in Aomori, Japan, were lively and full of seasonal festivals, school events and regional traveling. As I enter my second year, a ‘new normal’ has taken hold...

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IVLP Alumni Spotlight: Strengthening U.S.–Japan Government Bonds

This blog post was contributed by Lee Norrgard, Program Officer in Meridian’s Professional Exchanges Division For almost 170 years, the United States and Japan have organized informational and cultural exchanges between our two countries. Arriving in 1871, Umeko Tsuda was a seven-year-old girl sent to learn Western ways in Washington, DC. Her foster parents provided schooling that led to her graduation from Bryn Mawr College. Upon returning to Japan, she founded the prestigious women’s school Tsuda University which continues the intercultural exchange first experienced by the young Umeko Tsuda. Carrying on this long tradition, in the 1970s, the Government of...

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Perception Is Power: Why Russia Is Missing Out at the G7

Russia was arguably the least popular world power in 2014. According to new data from the Gallup World Poll, Russian leadership has a median international approval rating of 22 percent and a 36 percent disapproval rating, the highest of any country. This is cannot be a surprise following the annexation of Crimea, covert intervention in Eastern Ukraine, and assassination of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. As a direct result of international disapproval, Russia’s membership in the G8 was suspended in March 2014, further isolating the country during a time of economic hardship. Negative perceptions of Russian leadership are immediately affecting...

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