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Promoting a culture of peace in Japan at the Seisen Univesity

Thursday 29 October 2015, by SIGNIS

Tokyo, Brussels, October 29th, 2015 (SIGNIS Japan/ SIGNIS) Sahel Rosa is one of the young TV personalities in Japan. After an Iraqi air raid destroyed her house in western Iran in 1989, she was adopted in Japan. She made a career as a model, TV personality and actress, a remarkable journey documented in her 2009 autobiography, “From the War Zone to (the Life of) an Actress.”

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Sahel Rosa

She gave a commemorative speech at the World Refugee Day symposium at the Seisen University on June 20th 2015. She talked about her life story, human rights and human love. She also explained the difficulty of living in Japan as a non-Japanese speaker. Her speech was in fluent Japanese. This heart-warming story was very impressive for the approximately two hundred fifty people who were attending the event. Among the audience, there were young students of the Volunteer Center and Catholic Center of the University, but also Itaru Tsuchiya, vice-president of SIGNIS Japan. The Symposium was hosted by the Students Committee under the theme “As a Global citizen what we can do in a Multicultural Society: Being and sharing with refugees in Japan”.

President of the University, Professor Noboru Sugiyama, and its Chairman, Professor emeritus Sr. Jyunko Monica Shioya, opened the Symposium with short messages followed by a keynote speaker Prof. Shun Oono (Department of global citizenship Studies at the University). Oono gave a presentation on the condition of refugees in Japan and introduced the program for Global Citizenship Studies. He then shared interviews of refugees living in Tokyo who explained their real life story in the classroom.

Secondly, two students (Department of global citizenship Studies) gave presentations on research and volunteer work for refugees. Makoto Ichikawa presented the issue of her own volunteer group for supporting refugees abroad. Narumi Yamazaki introduced her experience through international study tour to Philippines and explained about the refugee situation caused by the huge typhoon Haiyan in the Island of Leyte.

During the panel discussion, Doan Thing Chang (from Vietnam, a graduate of the Kwansei-Gakuin University, provided by UNHCR scholarship for Refugee) and two other students talked about the life in Japan as a refugee.

The Leader of the Students Committee of this symposium, Rika Tejima said, “My first impression about refugees is unfamiliar to me, but now I understand that everyone in the world, including refugees, have the same human rights to live a normal daily life. I was deeply moved by their life, especially stories which I heard about Sahel Rose and Doan Thing Chang today. What I can do now is to help and support Japanese Language for refugees in Japan. I believe that people need to develop the verbal communication skills in order to express their feelings and build warm relationships with others to lead their own happy life. We, students committee members, appreciate supporting organizations such as UNHCR, CTIC, Caritas Japan, AAR Japan, Support 21, Japan Association for Refugee, Arusha Cooperation, Sophia-U, U-Sacred-Heart, U-Shirayuri, and Tokyo Junshin-U. This successful symposium commemorating the 10th anniversary of Seisen U. volunteer center could not have been made without tireless efforts and support from everyone.”

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