Students to benefit from new Japan Centre

Students at the University of Sheffield are being given the opportunity to deepen their understanding of Japanese language and culture through a new partnership between the University and Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan.

The University of Sheffield Doshisha Centre (USDC), which will help strengthen existing research and teaching links between the two universities, was officially launched in Japan today (9 January 2009). The University's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for External Affairs, Professor Dominic Shellard, Doshisha University's President Eiji Hatta, and other senior staff presented their thoughts on the significance of the new Centre for the internationalisation of the two universities at the launch event. The Director of the British Council in Japan, Jason James, and the President of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Motoyuki Ono, launched the proceedings with congratulatory speeches.

Based on the Imadegawa Campus of Doshisha University, undergraduate students in Japanese Studies at the University of Sheffield's School of East Asian Studies will be able to carry out their 'year abroad programme' at the new centre. The students will study Japanese language and culture and will benefit from the opportunity to take Doshisha modules and become part of campus life at Doshisha.

The University of Sheffield already welcomes around 80 students from Japan who study a wide range of subjects from nanotechnology to management.

The new centre will benefit academic exchanges and will provide both institutions with the opportunity to develop and communicate important research. A number of staff from both universities will also work together to further their development and share their knowledge. The Centre will welcome its first students in September 2009.

Sheffield's relationship with Japan goes back over 40 years when it established the first Centre of Japanese Studies in 1963. Ten years later the University was chosen by the Japanese Government to administer the Japan Foundation Endowment fund which was launched to further the study of the country's language and culture in British Universities.

The University of Sheffield already has strong links with Doshisha University – both institutions signed their first International Exchange agreement in 1997. The new centre will help to further strengthen existing academic and cultural exchanges in the areas of education, research and other activities.

Professor Dominic Shellard said: "The Doshisha Centre provides both Universities with a fantastic opportunity to develop their teaching links and promote joint research. We are increasingly operating in a global world and this agreement is a great example of how two institutions can work together to strengthen their international position.

"We value the contribution the Centre will make to the School of East Asian Studies and the University as a whole. We look forward to developing our relationship with Japan over the coming years and look forward to seeing the Centre flourish."

Dr Richard Siddle, of the University's School of East Asian Studies and who will lead the new Centre in Japan, added: "The new Centre is a wonderful opportunity for Sheffield students to study in Japan's historic cultural capital. The students will be able to immerse themselves in Japanese culture and language at a first-class Japanese University. I am honoured to be the first Director of the new University of Sheffield Doshisha Centre and look forward to working in such an exiting environment."

President Hatta, of Doshisha University, added: "It is a great honour and pleasure for Doshisha University that the University of Sheffield has chosen us out of 760 national, public and private four-year universities in Japan to establish their study centre. I am looking forward to the continued close partnership between our two institutions, which I hope will make our campus a meeting place for international exchange among young students, and to the contribution that the two universities will together be able to make to the society by nurturing global citizens."

For further information please contact: Lindsey Bird, Media Relations Manager, on 0114 2225338 or email l.bird@sheffield.ac.uk