Japan and Insights on Cross-cultural Collaborations 

Japan and Insights on Cross-cultural Collaborations 

Among various channels of cross-cultural collaborations possible, the COVID-19 context has guided many in international education to promote virtual/online modes of collaboration worldwide. Since 2018, COIL/VE has already come into the cross-cultural collaboration endeavor at Japanese institutions through the Education Ministry (MEXT) initiative called Inter-University Exchange Program 2018-2022. This practice has strengthened international partnerships and expanded international collaboration through formal institutional agreements. With the pandemic shifting from the critical stage to a more relaxed phase, Japan is now exploring how to blend the rapid growth of online international education with its “traditional” mobility-based international activities. It is this intersection of new modalities and current practices that paves the way for our future.

  The demand for digital transformation of higher education in Japan has gained new emphasis in response to the pandemic crisis in Japan. Japan has its ambitious future prospective called “Society 5.0”, which aims at a human-centered society in which everyone benefits from advanced technology. This envisioned “Super Smart Society” recognizes that we need more bearers of the information technology society, and it is also necessary to require the bearers and all residents, including the increasing aging population, to acquire new competencies, be immersed in their application, and to take advantage of technology for their better lives. Two such important competences are said to be (i) intercultural competence and (ii) growth mindset. At higher education institutions in Japan, STEAM, for example, which emphasizes interdisciplinary and project-based teaching and learning methodology, is being adopted in science and engineering schools on campus as a part of curriculum integration. COIL is increasingly viewed as the cornerstone that leads to “internationalization of the university” with a focus on sustainability. See Kansai University’s IIGE white paper series online (“I-Paper”) at: https://www.kansai-u.ac.jp/Kokusai/IIGE/resources/whitepaper.php

While speed is not always Japan’s forté in making decisions, these national initiatives are making changes to shape the future.  The next normal phase for international education will not wait for a slow pacing any longer. More changes in Japanese higher education institutions are yet to come, and they are, fortunately, coming quickly as the world has sped up its transforming process. 

About the author: Dr. Keiko Ikeda is a Professor in the Division of International Affairs, and KU-COIL Coordinator at Kansai University. Recently, she has taken the role as the principal project manager for the Inter-University Exchange Project funded by MEXT, 2018-2022 (“COIL Plus Program to Develop Global Career Mindset”). She is Vice-Director for the newly established organization at KU, Institute for Innovative Global Education (IIGE).

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Mark Beirn


An experienced global researcher and administrator, Mark Beirn brings a critical approach to risk management, factoring structural racism and identity-based violence into his rubric for supporting equitable global mobility.

Specialization Areas:

– Global Risk Management
– Education Abroad
– Diversity, Equity, Inclusion in International Education
– Health and Safety
– Curriculum Development


Stephen Appiah-Padi​


Stephen Appiah-Padi is an international educator with several years of teaching and administrative experience in both 4 and 2-year HEIs. An experienced global education practitioner-scholar, with a demonstrated history of success in the field.

Dr. Appiah-Padi has a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada in Educational Policy & Administration with a specialization in International/Intercultural Education.

At Northwestern College, he provided oversight in the administration of education abroad and international student services. In Lansing, Michigan, he first oversaw diversity and intercultural education at Lansing Community College, and later created the Center for International and Intercultural Education (CIIE) which merged intercultural engagement and international education programs of the institution, and he became its first director. Additionally, Dr. Appiah-Padi taught a course, “Diversity in the American Workplace”, to undergraduate management students of the College. In his current position, he provides leadership and vision in advancing strategic internationalization initiatives, including international partnerships and study abroad programs at Bucknell University.

Dr Appiah-Padi has created and facilitated several workshops for faculty and staff development in higher education and in business organizations. He has presented at several national and international conferences. In NAFSA, among several volunteer leadership positions, he has served as Dean of the Fundamentals of Intercultural Communication Workshop, the Leadership Development Committee member, Chair of the Africa Special Interest Group, and a Fellow of the Global Fellowship Program for mentoring emerging leaders of internationalization in African HEIs. He currently serves as a member of the NAFSA Board of Directors.

Specialization Areas:

– Education Abroad
– International education leadership development
– Intercultural education and engagement
– International partnerships and linkages

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Rosa Almoguera


Dr. Rosa Almoguera has worked as an international educator for over twenty years. She was trained as a Hispanic Philologist at the Universidad Complutense, in Madrid, and did her M.A. at the University of Pennsylvania. Her Ph.D., from Universidad Complutense included a field study and edition of written balladry “Romancero”. During many years Rosa combined teaching and her role as a senior administrator at the Fundación Ortega-Marañón in Toledo, Spain. At the Foundation, Rosa directed and, in many cases created, programs for the University of Minnesota, Notre Dame, Princeton, Ohio State, Arcadia, and the University of Chicago. She has also been a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota, University of Portland, and Interamericana de Puerto Rico.

Beginning in 2016, Rosa works as an international education consultant for both public and private European and US higher education institutions. Rosa has been successful in developing new partnerships and programs, as well as helping improve already existing ones.

Rosa is a member of Forum and NAFSA and has presented with higher education professionals on innovative academic and research programming, STEM in study abroad and Nationalism in Europe. Rosa is currently completing the final Professional Certification from the Forum on Education Abroad.

Specialization Areas:

– Student services
– Education abroad programming
– Institutional partnerships
– Education and training

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