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Former Japanese Ambassador to Visit ODU Jan. 21

By Betsy Hnath

A Japanese delegation including Ichiro Fujisaki, the former ambassador of Japan to the United States, will visit Old Dominion University Sunday, Jan. 21 to present "Walk in U.S., Talk on Japan" in the Strome Entrepreneurial Center from 4 to 6 p.m.

The Office of International Programs is co-hosting the event with the College of Arts and Letters and the Department of World Languages and Cultures.

"Walk in U.S., Talk on Japan," a program initiated by Japan in 2014, features delegations made up of volunteers representing a variety of backgrounds, but all of whom have some connection to the United States.

Japan aims to increase awareness about its country in the U.S. through "grass-roots" diplomacy.

Ambassador Fujisaki will discuss Japan-U.S. and Japan-Virginia relationships. Additional delegates will address current social issues, job hunting and what it feels like to live as a "foreigner" in Japan.

An hour-long Q&A session will follow the presentation, along with a reception.

Two Old Dominion alumni working at the Japan Embassy in Washington D.C., Thomas Mattingly and Susan Berhane, helped coordinate the visit along with Steven Bell, interim executive director of the University's Office of International Programs.

"I hope by asking firsthand questions, it sparks a deeper interest in Japan for our students," Bell said. "I hope after this, they pursue ways in their career they can deepen their involvement in the country -- and hopefully go there and work there."

University faculty, staff and students, along with community members interested in Japan or Japanese culture, are encouraged to attend.

Admission and parking are free and open to the public, but spaces are limited.

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