June 22, 2008

 Facilitator Training Held in Tokyo

A facilitator training was held in Tokyo today. Participants this time included Pangaea Net, members participating in the development of tactile worksheets for children, and facilitators originally from Kyoto who moved to the Kanto region. It was not just a warm reunion of course. Some new faces interested in participating also attended, and we had a productive four hours. I am looking forward to our activities starting next month!

Since the beginning of the year, we have held trainings in four locations: Korea and Kyoto in April, Mie in May, and Tokyo in June. There are now over 100 facilitators certified by Pangaea. We hope to continue to foster environments in which everyone can feel connected with children.

Takekazu "Hana-pooh" Hanada
Chief Administrative Officer

Posted by: kumakinoko | 1. Activity Report | Permalink

June 05, 2008

 Participation in Amsterdam Conference via Webcam

Every year I usually have several chances to meet with the Club of Amsterdam and the Waag Society (two Dutch organizations) and this time I was asked to give a speech at their event "The Future of Children." In the past, I have experienced web conferences where you can see everyone talking to you, but this was the first time I had ever participated in a meeting with so many people in Amsterdam and talked over a television broadcast viewable by countries of the EU. The session began at 7 PM their time, which is 2 AM in the morning for us...so that night at 12:30, Toshi and I were alone in the office preparing for the conference, and until the time came, we sat and drank too much coffee and ended up giving ourselves hearburn. When it was time, it was hard to imagine that I was actually on Webcam and that there were people watching me in my office, and halfway through the session I even forgot I was visible at all and scratched my back.
At the Amsterdam location, Simon came to the rescue around 4 AM when the discussion section started - I'd asked him to help since my mind was really starting to slow down with sleep.

Then when the session was over, I heard word from Amsterdam via Skype: "They crowd got really excited here. Great speech!" Lately, we've been getting invitations from Turkey and Egypt as well. I really feel like we're able to access and communicate with a variety of places around the world through our activities. This week, Japan is lively with discussion as a result of the Africa conferences. Japan is thinking about how best to support the future of Africa by considering the issue through the eyes of local African citizens, and I hope we can make a difference by using our tax money wisely and effectively. Pangaea hopefully will also someday be able to support the country of Africa in its activities.

Posted by: yumi | 8. General | Permalink

June 04, 2008

 Jun 2008 Newsletter: Yumi's Monthly Note

Hello, everyone,

I got back from Amsterdam during the Golden Week, the week-long spring holiday in Japan (April 29 through May 5). As soon as I unpacked my suitcase, I put myself into "activity mode." On May 10th, we set up a webcam connection between Tokyo and Seoul for our webcam activity. This time the MIZY Center, operated by the Korean National Commissions for UNESCO, shot and edited a video to introduce our activities. The very well done video brought the recorded voices of Korean children, their parents, our facilitators, and the MIZY staff members. You can feel the excitement of the children through the video. Actually, some Korean children reported that they had negative images of Japan before attending our webcam activity. However, the Korean staff captured the interesting moments on video: all Korean kids attending the webcam activity, including those children who had negative feelings toward Japan, had so much fun with their Japanese teammates by playing webcam games together. The video also shows some similarities and differences between Korean and Japanese cultures. We posted the video on our blog, so please check it out. After the activity, Korean facilitators in Seoul left their feedback on our multilingual community site supported by Language Grid: "I had a heartfelt connection by participating in the webcam activity." We deeply appreciate Microsoft Corp., awarding us grants to successfully get through our webcam activity this time.

One week after the webcam activity, our new term of the 2008/2009 academic year started at Mie University. Fifteen college students signed up for our facilitator training sessions; most of them were energetic freshmen. We also held Pangaea Activity on the same day. It had been two months since we had the last activity in Mie, so that some kids were too excited to stay focused. Yet, they got into their tasks and created masterpieces, using Viscuit, soon after being engaged in activities. To make Pangaea Playing Cards, kids chose a sandy beach as their favorite place to play. Because the campus of Mie University is adjacent to the ocean, we grabbed the camera and headed off to the beach. And then, we took some lovely pictures of the kids playing with sand (e.g. making domes with sand). I am sure that the Mie activity site will stay active through the rest of the year. Our next facilitator training sessions are coming up this June in Tokyo. It will be the great opportunity for those who already completed the training sessions to brush up their skills. We are looking forward to your participation.

I'd like to present Mr. Andrew Bullen, the director of Media Guild, as the Pangaea Ring writer this month. The stylish office where he works is located near the Central Station in Amsterdam. Andrew is very chic and influential. During our initial meeting, he instantly and thoroughly understood our project concepts and plans. Since then, he has inspired us in many ways. In fact, he was the person who motivated us to form our activity field in Amsterdam.

See you next month!


Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

 Jun 2008 Newsletter: Pangaea ring - Mr. Andrew Bullen

Any great movement needs a strong vision, and Pangaea is about the boldness of a vision. When I first met Yumi and Toshi, I was fascinated by the story of Pangaea's birth ? from the ashes of a terrible tragedy based on misunderstanding and distrust ? but I was even more impressed by their unshakable belief in the power of humanity to create understanding across borders and cultures and the quite amazing drive which takes them across continents, through endless waiting rooms and bureaucratic frustrations, in their quest to achieve their vision.

There is no better way to use technology than as a means to achieve this vision of global, human understanding. The Pangaea network unites kids in different countries across the world, whether in Africa, Asia or Europe, but it is equally important that this "global" understanding is then applied locally, in cities and neighbourhoods, where the "kid next door" is increasingly of a different nationality, culture or background.

And the vision builds a community, primarily of kids, "from the ground up". Kids make connections easily, are still fascinated by the new and different, are ready to explore and learn, and are not spoilt by the prejudices of "linear thinking" adults. Kids have all the natural gifts to really benefit from the rich diversity of the modern world.

And these are just a few of the reasons why I welcome the arrival of Pangaea in the Netherlands, and I look forward to its unstoppable progress across Europe and the world...

Andrew Bullen
the director of the Media Guild

Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter , 4. Pangaea Ring | Permalink