ICU-Senior High School Collaboration Project "ICU Global Challenge Forum 2020" Held Online

Update: April 12, 2021

ICU Global Challenge Forum 2020 was held in the following four courses during the three months from December 2020 to March 2021 (over four sessions) as part of the ICU-Senior High School Collaboration Project.


"Approaching Psychology from First Contacts with Extraterrestrial Intelligence"
Instructor: Professor Yasunori Morishima (Psychology)

"Armed Conflict and Gender/Sexuality"
Instructor: Senior Associate Professor Kana Takamatsu (International Relations, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Politics)

"Environmental Problems Learning from Connection with Ourselves -The First Step of the Action toward Solving"
Instructor: Professor Tatsuo Nunoshiba (Biology, Environmental Studies)
Associate Professor Ryosuke Fujinuma (Environmental Studies)

"Liberal Arts Education and our Desires (lecture given in English)"
Instructor: Professor Jeremiah L. Alberg (Philosophy and Religion, Peace Studies)


This program is offered to 10th and 11th grade students to give them a glimpse into the infinite world of academia through experiencing ICU's liberal arts education in which each student learns on their own initiative. The program aims to nurture the next generation that can confront real-world problems lying beyond academic learning.

It was the second ICU Global Challenge Forum following the first one held in 2019-2020. This time, leveraging ICU's liberal arts education and Japanese-English bilingual environment, four courses from wide-ranging fields including humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and interdisciplinary studies were delivered in either Japanese or English.
We aimed to create an experience different from that in high-school classrooms by limiting the number of participants of each course to 20-30 to ensure interactivity between the instructor and participants as well as among participants.

Each session combined a lecture and group work. Although the participants seemed rather nervous in the first session, they all became more actively engaged in peer discussions and Q&A sessions with the instructor as the course proceeded, demonstrating growth and positive change in attitude. In some courses, ICU students participated as facilitators to provide appropriate advice to the participants and support group work as necessary. By building on their own learning experience, the facilitators played an important role in enhancing the program to make it a more fulfilling learning opportunity.

The last session of the four courses culminated in various creative forms including group work, debate, and presentations, depending on the instructor's ingenuity. Comments were heard from the participants that they appreciated the unique experience they could not have gained if it had not been for the Collaboration Project, because it was difficult to get a chance in everyday high school life to work with peer students from across Japan with diverse backgrounds and values.

We are planning to hold the next ICU Global Challenge Forum in AY2021.

Comments from high school students who participated in the program

- I strongly felt that, if I spoke out my opinions everyone would listen and the more we speak up, the deeper the discussion gets. The themes of the discussions were all difficult and I had a hard time understanding them, but it was a fun experience to work with multiple persons to form a shared opinion, particularly in the last discussion we had.

- In the program, I focused on a particular problem to prepare my presentation, but the more I studied about the problem, the more I found that it was closely related to other problems. I learned that whatever the subject, you get to know more about it by looking into a wide range of fields. I also realized that while it is important to focus on one thing when learning, understanding a specific field is not good enough to solve a specific problem. What I mean is that I learned there are experiences and knowledge that you can only gain by looking at things from a liberal arts perspective, which will lead you to a balanced way of thinking. I feel that it was a valuable experience for me because I was able to not only gain knowledge but also feel my growth by participating in the program.

- I thought that viewing a specific problem from various perspectives is a learning style characteristic to liberal arts. The professor's lecture was much more interesting and profound than what we learn at high school. In the group discussions, I was able to exchange opinions with high school students from various backgrounds, which helped me widen my perspectives. I couldn't have gained such an experience if I hadn't participated in the course. It was such a meaningful time.

- I am very happy to have been able to gain such a valuable experience. I had little chance to have discussions with students from other high schools because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it was a new and inspiring experience for me. The contents of the course were very interesting because it covered issues that we rarely learn at school.

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