The University of Tokyo AIKOM program celebrated its 20th anniversary on the evening of April 5th, 2014, by holding a reception for past and present AIKOM students and friends.
Over its 20 year history, the AIKOM program has helped over 800 students experience different cultures. On the evening of the event, we were pleased to welcome over 100 participants, including 47 University of Tokyo students who studied abroad at partner schools, as well as 38 foreign students who came to the University of Tokyo, Komaba Campus for a year of exchange and study.
Professor Yujin Yaguchi acted as the MC for the night, which started off with words of greeting from Professor Yojiro Ishii, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Professor Junji Nagata, the director of the AIKOM program, and Hari Prabowo, a former AIKOM student from Indonesia, who studied on the Komaba Campus in 1997 (AIKOM 3).
Professor Yoichi Kibata, Professor Emeritus, then lead a toast, after after which students and old friends caught up over a delicious buffet style dinner and drinks. AIKOM program staff then showed pictures from past years of AIKOM. There was a guessing game, in which an old pictures of AIKOM students were shown and classmates were asked to identify each other for a prize. The old pictures drew plenty of laughs from the audience. Several AIKOM program graduates stepped forward to say a few word about their experiences in the AIKOM program and the influence it had on their present lives. One of these students was Sahasika Prabaswara, and his speech can be found here.
Professor Toshiko Ellis also read a few messages from AIKOM graduates who were unable to make the event.
Starting this year, the AIKOM program will be merging with the Globalization Office to form a coalition of international programs on the Komaba campus. By doing so, AIKOM students will be able to share classes and make friends with international students in other programs. However, in order to maintain the tight bonds between students and to help students maintain a sense of community as AIKOM students, an AIKOM alumni association will be formed. Tomoka (Matsuhige) Tanaka stepped forward as the new leader of this AIKOM alumni association, and addressed the audience with ideas for future events.
The night ended with closing speeches from Professor Emerita Masako Notoji and Professor Yasunari Takada, the first director of the AIKOM program.
The event was a great success, with long separated friends and classmates reuniting with one another, former professors and with AIKOM staff.