Leadership Programme in Sustainable Living with Environmental Risk

The Leadership Programme in Sustainable Living with Environmental Risk (the SLER programme) was launched in 2009 and is spearheaded by the Yokohama National University Graduate School of Environment and Information Sciences (YNU-GSEIS). The SLER programme has its own distinctive features aimed at developing the expertise and skills required for future environmental leaders (Kaneko et al. 2013). Many features are similar to those implemented by other universities as presented in the previous section. Some of the key features of the YNUSLER programme are highlighted below (Fig. 1.2).

Interactive Multimedia Education System (iMES) (Arisawa and Sato in This Book)

YNU collaborates with nine overseas universities, namely: East China Normal University (ECNU, China); University of Lampung (UNILA, Indonesia); Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM, Malaysia); University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB, Philippines); Kasetsart University (KU, Thailand); The University of

Fig. 1.2 SLER programme components and their expected impacts in development of expertise and skills required for future environmental leaders

Danang (UOD, Vietnam); University of Nairobi (UON, Kenya); the University of Antananarivo (UOA, Madagascar), and the United Nations University (UNU). The students of the UNU Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS, Yokohama) attend the class at YNU, and students from the UNU Institute of Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP, Tokyo) are now invited to do so from fall 2013. The two core courses of the SLER programme are Environmental Risk Management (spring semester) and Environmental Leadership Development (fall semester), and they use the interactive multimedia education system (iMES). Lectures are given in English using PowerPoint for 25 min by guest speakers from international organizations, research institutes, NGOs, business corporations, and governments. The moderators based at YNU facilitate discussions involving both the YNU students and students in overseas universities connected via iMES.

Intensive Course

In September each year, a 2-week intensive SLER course is organized with participants from YNU, UNU, and eight overseas partner universities. The program includes some unique components, notably (1) a tour to study reconstruction in the parts of Tohoku (northeastern Japan) hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, (2) a visit to the city of Kawasaki near Tokyo to learn about the operation of environmental businesses by both private and public organizations, (3) a visit to the town of Hayama on Tokyo Bay's Miura Peninsula to learn integrated ecosystem and landscape management from local people, (4) dialogues with leading scientists and practitioners at UNU's open joint symposium, and (5) a scenario workshop to develop students' creative thinking and facilitation skills. During the study tour to Tohoku in September 2013, the students observed and interacted with experts and local stakeholders in the city of Nihonmatsu in Fukushima Prefecture, the town of Minamisanriku and the city of Iwanuma in Miyagi Prefecture, and the city of Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture. They learned about (1) the grand design for reconstruction, (2) forest management in radiationaffected areas, (3) coastal woodland restoration, (4) restoration of tsunami-inundated paddy fields, (5) oyster farming restoration, (6) debris and waste management, and (7) revitalization of small and medium enterprises. Students also participated in producing seedling pots containing local evergreen broad-leaved tree species such as laurel or persia thumbertii. The YNU Student Association of Films produced a 45-minute video featuring the Tohoku study tour of 2011–2012 that was screened at a public symposium entitled Reconstruction and Invigoration of Disaster-hit Areas—Viewpoints from Rikuzentakata, held at YNU on March 25, 2013.

Madagascar Joint Field Study

A joint field study is conducted once a year in Madagascar in collaboration with UOA. In 2012, YNU and UOA students undertook (1) an ecosystem assessment, (2) a soil survey, and (3) a social survey in the areas of Ambatondrazaka, on Madagascar's eastern side, and Andapa further to the north-east. Together with experts and local practitioners students observed and discussed: (1) environment, forest, and agriculture policy issues, (2) management of protected and watershed areas, (3) reforestation, (4) non-tillage farming, (5) wildlife protection, and (6) innovative community-based activities offering alternative livelihoods. A joint symposium was organized at UOA on the last day of the program to present the outcomes of the field study.

Credit Exchange Agreement with UNU

In order to formalize its academic and educational collaboration with UNU-IAS, YNU-GSEIS entered into a credit exchange agreement with UNU-IAS in March 2012. Between then and July 2013, four students of YNU took three courses at UNU-IAS, and nine students of UNU-IAS took three courses at YNU. The credit exchange agreement was expanded in July 2013 with the conclusion of an additional agreement among YNU, UNU-IAS, and UNU-ISP. With the addition of UNU-ISP, the four other YNU graduate schools have now joined in the agreement.

Other Elective Courses and Supporting Programs

The Asia-Africa Field Work II course helps students to conduct their individual field surveys. Effective Communication for Environmental Leaders enables students to improve their writing and communication skills. Additional elective courses offered in English are Local Risk and Resource Management, International Cooperation for Sustainable Development, and Eco-tourism. A course entitled Capacity Development that was left at the conceptual stage for some time was operationalized in 2012 to give credits when the students undertake internships or attend seminars overseas. In March 2012 an ad-hoc two-day seminar entitled Workshop for Environmental Leadership and Career Development was held in Hayama. Organized in collaboration with UNU-IAS and UNU-ISP, the workshop featured 16 speakers from international organizations, international NGOs, and business corporations.

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