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The road to Global Talent who can break confines and be active

[Conversation] Tadahiko Fukuhara × Rumiko Seya

Chuo University is currently promoting various activities in order to nurture talent who can be active globally. But what is internationalization? What does it mean to work overseas? President Fukuhara talked with Chuo graduate Rumiko Seya who is active on an international stage as a professional in post-conflict restoration and disarmament of soldiers.

I aimed to be a person who can be useful in any arena (Seya)

Fukuhara The other day you gave a lecture during Chuo University International Week as a graduate. Thank you very much. Your talk as a professional in war-ravaged countries such as Rwanda and Somalia captured the interest of many students. I think you are an example of the global talent that Chuo University aims to produce, but where did that aptitude come from and how did you cultivate it?

Seya Thank you. I don't have any special temperament as such, rather, I've always thought that I have no strong points. In that respect, because I would be no match for people with talent when doing the same thing, I thought I would work in a field that nobody else was doing. I looked at many jobs and thought that dispute support was the one for me. When I was in my third year at high school, I immediately looked around for a university that especially taught dispute support, but at the time there were no faculties of that kind, or any teachers. With that being the case, I thought I would conduct my studies in the closest possible field, so I entered the Faculty of Policy Studies at Chuo University.

Fukuhara So you had independently chosen your path at high school. I believe that taking hold of oneself is extremely important when working overseas. When someone says global, most of the time it means being active overseas, and at Chuo University, we place a global emphasis on the environment for nurturing talent. To realize that, as well as having many international programs, we also provide an environment where students from around the world can study together. In order to increase global talent, don't you think we need both an environment to raise that talent, as well as an environment for them to be active?

Seya That's right. I was also able to learn about many affairs in the Chuo University's environment. There were many specialist books about conflicts in the library, and while I was at university, I was able to experience an internship for a Japanese group supporting an NGO in Rwanda. My professor also praised the report I wrote at the time, and I remember feeling I had gained an ally in my ideal: it's OK to think outside the box. I strongly felt that there were many teachers who accepted me doing different things. I was very grateful for that.

Fukuhara We believe that a university degree isn't just a piece of paper. If you can't use what you have learnt, you can't be useful to society. The teachers also have that way of thinking. To continue efforts to find your own path in a world with no models. This can be said to be the character required to be active globally. What do you think being global means?

Seya Starting with university, I have experienced many environments such as the United Nations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NGOs, and I have always taken the approach: regardless of what organization I belong to, I need to be useful in any arena I am thrown in to. People tend to think that global = internationalization, but to me, global means being active and overcoming the every border of organizations and countries etc. I think those kind of people are global talents.

Fukuhara Being able to work anywhere is truly a bottom-up approach to management. This can be seen in the university's founding principle, fostering the ability to apply knowledge to practice, and I also believe that it is highly important. I think that what is necessary in the future is human resources who have acquired the three characteristics of a bottom-up approach to management, on-the-spot aspirations, and practical application.

When looking for a place to work, definitely look around the world (Fukuhara)

Fukuhara There are three models of global talents that Chuo University should nurture, the global generalist who can execute policies and business with a broad education and communication skills, the global leader who can shoulder global society policies and devise business plans, and the global specialist who is highly specialized and can refine and enhance policy and business. Ms. Seya, you are a leader and a specialist, but in order to become those, you need to find a place where what you can do, what you want to do, and what you demand of yourself are all in agreement. Don't you think that what is important here is when looking for a place to work, don't just look at Japan, but look around the world?

Seya Yes, I think so. For example, there are many IT related engineers in Japan, but there aren't many in Somalia, and people there are desperately searching for engineers. I want people who feel that there is no place in Japan for them to work to know that there is definitely some place in the world that requires their skills. For that reason, JCCP provides many opportunities to talk about such things as a choice for the future to working adults, as well as university and high school students.

Fukuhara That is a wonderful thing. One thing I want to ask is, what do you try to do when teaching staff global specialist information?

Seya In order for staff to properly attain knowledge, we always provide opportunities for practical experience. They do learn when we teach them orally, but without experience it doesn't become part of them.

Fukuhara I see. And one more thing. What kind of leadership does one need to become a global leader? I think that getting people of different languages and culture together and training staff in the middle of a conflict require a different method than doing so in Japan.

Seya The leadership we require changes depending on the intensity of the conflict and public safety, and there are many instances when you are by yourself and need to make a last-minute decision. For that reason, not only the senior staff, but everyone must be aware that they are a leader. Also, if individuals possess their own decision-making skills, the range of support expands by itself, so I aim to treat every individual as a leader who is in a position that can take responsibility when an emergency arises.

Fukuhara If people at the top take that stance, then it is easy to instill a feeling of responsibility among the staff. However, working in a warzone, you must battle with the danger and extreme pressure, and continuously feel nervous. In that kind of atmosphere, what is the secret to keeping a healthy mind and body?

Seya Staff must take compulsory leave once every two months and leave the area they work in. For example, even if the workers say they don't need a break, there are times where they have become too tense and don't notice abnormalities, so we have set up this system which everybody, including myself, must use. As a professional supporting the locals, first and foremost is one's own health. There are times when you need a self-sacrificial mind, but possessing nothing but that will wear you out. Even I have become aware of this lately and make sure to create some private time.