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Middlebury and MIIS react to crisis in Japan

March 16, 2011

Information on Middlebury's school in Tokyo, a look at some events on the schedule relating to the continuing crisis in Japan, and what Middlebury and Monterey groups are doing to help the victims.

Carillon Concert in honor of the people of Japan

On Monday, March 21, at 6 p.m. Middlebury College Carilloneur George Matthew Jr. will perform a carillon concert of Japanese music in Mead Chapel in honor of the people of Japan. The bells will be heard ringing across the campus, and our community is encouraged to pause for a moment of reflection and prayer.

Perspectives on the Crisis in Japan:
A Panel Discussion

At Middlebury College on Monday, March 21, at 8 p.m., in McCullough Social Space, you can hear various perspectives on the recent disaster and unfolding crisis in Japan. Four faculty colleagues will address the historical, cultural, and technological implications of the earthquake, tsunami, and continuing nuclear threat, with questions and discussion to follow. The faculty members participating will include Kyoko Davis, Japanese Studies; Steve Snyder, Japanese Studies; Neil Waters, History (Emeritus); and Rich Wolfson, Physics.

Update on the School in Japan, in Tokyo

Middlebury has four students currently studying at its School in Japan, located at partner university ICU, in Tokyo. All of the students are safe and accounted for, according to Jeff Cason, dean of international programs, who reports that the College has spoken to all of the students.

The students are also on break between terms. ICU’s Winter term ended on March 1; the Spring term begins on April 9. Some of the students on Middlebury's program are in Japan, and others have left the country. As a precautionary measure, Middlebury has made the decision to bring those students who are still in Japan back to the United States, at least temporarily, until more is known about radiation exposure and risks in Japan. The College will continue to monitor the situation, and will make a decision later this month about whether students will be able to return to ICU to study for the Spring term.

Mead Chapel opportunity for reflection

There will be an opportunity for quiet reflection, meditation, and prayer in Mead Chapel at Middlebury College on Thursday, March 17, from noon until 2 p.m., according to Chaplain Laurel Jordan. Students, faculty, and staff are invited to light a candle in memory of the victims and to remember all those who are grieving for friends and loved ones.

Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Troubles in Japan:
Facts and Future Implications

This panel discussion will be hosted by the Monterey Institute of International Studies on Friday, March 18, from 12:15-1:50 p.m. PDT in the McCone Building's Irvine Auditorium. Speakers will include Tsuneo Akaha, professor of international policy studies at MIIS and director of its Center for East Asian Studies; Patricia Lewis, deputy director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at MIIS and a nuclear physicist; Sandra Dow, professor of international finance in the international policy studies program at MIIS and a specialist in Japan’s economy; and Masahide Kokubun, deputy director of the Research Promotion Bureau at the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and a current student at MIIS

    The event will be streamed live at The video will be posted following the event at the Monterey YouTube channel at

    Read more . . .

    Student fundraising efforts, and 1000 Cranes

    Middlebury students have begun fundraising efforts through the Japanese Club and the new student organization Believe 4 Kids. Hand in hand with the fundraising will be an opportunity to fold paper cranes as a traditional gesture of peace, healing, and good will. For more info, check the website

    Fundraising at the Monterey Institute

    Faculty, staff, and students in Monterey have launched a fundraising drive aimed at supporting relief efforts in the area of Japan devastated by the recent earthquake and tsunami.

    A message to the campus community, which includes 21 students from Japan, described the genesis of this effort: “The situation in Japan in the wake of last week’s earthquake and tsunami is heartbreaking and we are all challenged to find ways that we can help to alleviate human suffering and restore some sense of normalcy for the hundreds of thousands of people affected by this disaster.” The group developed a three-track approach for their fundraising drive:

    • Members of the Japan Forum, a student club, have set up a booth at the Samson Student Center during lunch hours to collect individual donations.
    • The MIIS Student Council has agreed to dedicate all proceeds from the upcoming MIIS Student Follies, scheduled for April 1, to this fundraising effort.
    • The group has requested that any other contributions made by members of the Monterey Institute campus community be directed to the JSNC Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund established by the Japan Society of Northern California. JSNC will use its partners at Give2Asia to identify organizations in Japan supporting the relief and recovery efforts and direct contributions from MIIS to those organizations in Japan.

    Read more . . .

    Contact info for relief organizations

    The Middlebury College Chaplain’s Office website has a list of trusted disaster relief and development agencies that are working right now in Japan to provide food, water, shelter, medicine, and equipment to the devastated areas and to other places in the world where people are suffering and in need: