World Uchinanchu Student Summit promotes interaction between youth of Okinawan descent
August 11, 2015 Yoshiki Nagahama of Ryukyu Shimpo
The Northern Okinawa branch of the World Youth Uchinanchu Association (WYUA) is arranging to hold a World Uchinanchu Student Summit for youth of Okinawan descent from overseas at Meio University in Nago City on November 21-22. Around forty exchange students of Okinawan descent study in Okinawa each year. This will be the first event where they will all gather together in one place.
The summit will provide opportunities for members of the Okinawan diaspora to interact and it will include time for announcements on initiatives to foster connections. Participants are expected to engage in lively discussion about how to remain connected after returning to their home countries and how to maintain and pass on their Okinawan identity. Admission is open to the general public.
Andres Higa, a third-generation Okinawan from Argentina and representative of the Northern Okinawa branch of the WYUA, and Tadashi Andres Isa, a third-generation Okinawan from Peru and vice representative of the branch, have been planning to hold a student summit for several years. Both of them have roots in the northern part of Okinawa Island.
Each city and town in Okinawa accepts exchange students of Okinawan descent, but there are few opportunities for students studying in different parts of Okinawa to interact with each other. Isa explains that he wants to use the summit as an opportunity to show that many youth of Okinawan descent are coming to study in Okinawa. Higa said exchange students who come here from all over the world are connected by Okinawa. He plans to hold the summit every year.
About 120 people are expected to attend the summit, but the organizers hope to make it even bigger if they can get enough support. For details, contact Isa at 080-4280-2406.
(Translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)
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