International Students from Russia Participated in Training Course in UNESCO Mount Hakusan Biosphere Reserve Areas

From July 8 to 15, 16 international students from five Russian universities participated in training courses in Ohara Village of Gokayama, Nanto and Shiramine Village, Hakusan, both of which are areas of UNESCO Mount Hakusan Biosphere Reserve.

As part of the Cultural Exchange Program held by the Organization of Global Affairs, Kanazawa University, which aims at discussing problems in regional development for realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this training course provided the students opportunities to study the biological diversity and regional problems in these Biosphere Reserve areas through hands-on experiences.

In Gokayama area, the students first listened to the lecture “Life in Gokayama” from an expert specialized in the nature and culture of Gokayama, held in KU Gokayama Seminar House “Sukechi”. In the following three days, the students participated in setting up electric fence for preventing wild boars in the village, as well as in cleaning up the muds inside the fireproof water tank. In the evening, they enjoyed food cooked with fresh local vegetables in “Moyomon”, a traditional style house, and also tried traditional Japanese folk dance together with the local residents.

During the training in the Shiramine area, the students stayed at the “KU Organization for Global Affairs SDGs Biosphere Reserves, Geoparks Research Center (House Yohei)”, and actively visited museums, visitor centers and several other Mount Hakusan Biosphere Reserve-related places to learn about the natural, history and culture in Shiramine. They also participated in the “Hakusan Festival” on July 13 together with about 40 KU students, exchanging profound communication with the local residents as well. During the festival the students met with the mayor of Hakusan City, Mr.Noriaki YAMADA, and were able to directly ask about the regional issues and local policies towards the regional sustainable development.

On the last day of the program, the students presented their study results in the Symposium “Japanese-Russian University Cooperation to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Cultural Exchange Program was carried out as part of the “Training Program for Russia-Japan Innovative Leaders of Tomorrow” of Kanazawa University, selected by MEXT for the Inter-university Exchange Project in August 2017.