The Ashoka U Exchange recently wrapped up and the entire delegation deemed the event to be extremely helpful for advancing civic engagement and social entrepreneurship activities in Japan. The nine professors and students who attended from Okinawa International University, Tohoku University, and the University of Tokyo noted how inspirational it was to exchange ideas and best practices with other civic engagement and social entrepreneurship stakeholders from around globe. One professor from Okinawa said that, “Students in the U.S. are so excited to change the world. Wow!”
The Ashoka U Exchange is an annual, global convening for social entrepreneurship education. For 2014, 650 individuals represented over 150 institutions from 40 different countries. At the Exchange, entrepreneurial students, faculty, administrators and community members come together to share action-oriented best practices on how to foster a campus-wide culture of social innovation. In workshops and also informal networking, the Japanese delegation had the opportunity to share ideas and knowledge with other university students, professors and administrators from as far away as Chile, Switzerland, and Malaysia as well as with colleagues from Japan.
One student from Tohoku University expressed how impressed and excited he was at the opportunity to meet so many people who shared his passion for creating social change. Here at ICP we are confident that this group of unique individuals will accomplish great things at their university campuses and will be leaders in advancing civic engagement and social entrepreneurship efforts in Japan. One speaker challenged the entire higher education community to go out and, “get some dirt underneath our institutional fingernails.”