I have recently returned from my visit to Tokyo to attend a symposium on behalf of the British Council. The Symposium was entitled “What are the roles and opportunities for universities before, during and after an international sporting event? Sharing experiences from the London Olympics and Paralympics to forge a deeper UK-Japan collaboration” The symposium was attended by over 100 Japanese academics as well an members of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee (TOCOG).
I made a presentaion on behalf of Bournemouth University’s involvement in London 2012 (including Weymouth and Portland) and then sat on a panel of experts to answer specific questions around different aspects of academic engagement. These included how to involve students and staff, as well as local communities, in the opportunities to be leveraged. There was considerable interest in how a university outside of London became so involved in London 2012!
On the way there my journey took an unexpected twist in that I had to fly via Shanghai (thank you BA) and so with such a short time in Tokyo, it meant more flying time than actually there on the ground! However, it did allow a bit of free time as can be seen by the photos below:
After the Symposium there was a reception and dinner with the traditional exchange of business cards, meishi, which is an essential part of Japanese etiquette. Thankfully I had arranaged to have my cards translated into Japanese which helped enormously and has resulted in being able to network with some prestigious universities and professors for future collaboration.