“The Nippon Foundation Central Asia-Japan Human Resource Development Project (NipCA Project)”
In January 2019, the University of Tsukuba received a grant from the Nippon Foundation to launch “The Nippon Foundation Central Asia-Japan Human Resource Development Project (NipCA Project)”.
This project aims to foster human resources who can contribute to the achievement of the “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” in the Central Asian region* and to the resolution of issues in the region through cooperation and collaboration among the Nippon Foundation, the Japan Central Asia Friendship Association (JACAFA), and University of Tsukuba.
Background of the project
University of Tsukuba has been actively involved in educational and academic exchanges with the Central Asian region since 2000. University of Tsukuba has concluded inter-university exchange agreements with 18 universities in the Central Asian region, and in recent years has accepted more than 50 international students per year, making it the largest exchange program in Japan. In addition, as part of a project subsidized by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan (“Re-Inventing Japan Project: Russia”) that began in 2014, we have been developing exchange programs with Russian-speaking countries, including those in Central Asia, through the “Multilingual Human Resource Development Program for Russian-Speaking Countries to be Active in Industry” (2014-2018). (This program received the highest rating of “S” in the interim evaluation by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) announced in 2017.)
JACAFA, with the support of the Nippon Foundation, has been providing scholarships to more than 300 excellent students from six countries in Central Asia to study abroad in Turkey since 2004. Since 2016, they have suspended the scholarship business, promoted our project mainly through the activities of the alumni network, and are actively promoting new exchange projects with Japan.
The Nippon Foundation, JACAFA, and the University of Tsukuba have been working closely together on a number of projects, including the participation of students and faculty members of the University of Tsukuba in the “Japan-Central Asia Exchange Forum” co-hosted by the Nippon Foundation and JACAFA (June 2017 and July 2018), a visit to University of Tsukuba by the JACAFA Japan Training Program and the holding of a roundtable discussion (July 2018), and the participation of a group of students from University of Tsukuba in the international conference “Sustainable Rural Development in Kyrgyzstan” co-hosted by the Nippon Foundation and JACAFA.
By starting this grant project, we aim to create a large human resources network that connects the region and Japan by creating a new group of human resources who will play a role in the development and prosperity of the Central Asia region in the future, while combining the network, know-how, and activity base of each of the three.
The project will focus on three main activities: (1) Network collaboration activities of the Nippon Foundation, JACAFA, and University of Tsukuba, (2) education and research activities, and (3) foundation building activities.
(1) Network collaboration activities of the Nippon Foundation, JACAFA, and University of Tsukuba
In addition to JACAFA’s existing alumni network of more than 300 people who have studied in Turkey, people from Central Asia who have studied at JACAFA and international students from Central Asia who will be supported by this project, will work together to build an organic network that will contribute to solving social issues in the Central Asian region.
- JACAFA Japan Training Program (3 days in University of Tsukuba)
- Dispatch of Central Asian students to the JACAFA General Assembly and JACAFA International Conference (held in the Central Asian region)
- Joint holding of the “Japan-Central Asia Exchange Forum” (held in Japan)
(2) Education and research activities
We aim to develop human resources through two-way education and research exchanges in Central Asia and Japan. Specifically, internship programs at Japanese companies and NPOs for international students, and short-term dispatch programs to Central Asia for Japanese students will be conducted. In addition, excellent students enrolled in the master’s program of our university will be awarded a scholarship as a “Nippon Foundation Central Asia Fellowship”.
- Acceptance of Central Asian students to the University of Tsukuba (scholarships and travel expenses for regular course students/internships at Japanese companies, NPOs, etc.)
- Dispatch of Japanese students to the Central Asian region (overseas internships, overseas project training, language training, medical inspection training, etc.)
- Educational activities common to both Central Asian students and Japanese students (graduate course “SDGs Seminar on Central Eurasia I” / undergraduate course “Central Eurasia and SDGs”, etc.)
- Research activities related to the Central Asian region (participation in international academic conferences, publication of research papers, organization of international conferences, symposia, roundtables, etc.)
(3) Foundation building activities
In addition to strengthening the domestic and international networks related to Central Asia, we aim to return educational and research results to Japanese society and the world through public symposiums and other events.
- Build a network with universities related to the Central Asian region (promote exchange with universities in the Central Asian region / support and expand exchange between Japanese universities and the Central Asian region)
- Public relations activities (distribution of pamphlets, newsletters, reports, and dissemination of information through website and SNS)
- Hold public lectures and symposiums on SDGs
- Hold external evaluation committee meetings
General Inquiries on the NipCA Project
University of Tsukuba “The Nippon Foundation Central Asia-Japan Human Resource Development Project (NipCA Project)” Administrative Office
(Also the Administrative Office for “Global Education Program for Developing Multilingual Human Resources in Japan, NIS and Baltic Countries”)
Special Program in Japan and Eurasian Studies (SPJES) Office
*Central Asia in this project refers to six countries: Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.