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As Monday morning dawned in earthquake- and tsunami-devastated Northern Japan, eight Japanese-American faculty and staff members at the Monterey Institute of International Studies announced a fundraising drive aimed at supporting relief efforts in Japan.

The Institute’s international campus community was profoundly affected by the 8.9 earthquake and tsunami that have left thousands dead and tens of thousands without shelter or basic supplies. Fully 30 percent of Institute students are international students, and half the faculty are originally from countries other than the United States. The Institute currently has 21 students from Japan enrolled in various graduate degree programs, and a total of 492 Institute alumni are currently located in Japan, according to school records. Another group of 21 students, undergraduates from Kanda University in Japan who traveled to Monterey a month ago for a four-week intensive English course, were scheduled to return home to Japan on Monday.

In a letter to the Monterey Institute campus community, Japanese-American faculty and staff members Tsuneo Akaha, Kayoko Takeda, Masako Toki, Naoko Matsuo, Hideko Russell, Tanya Pound, Yoko Yamamoto and Erin Morita expressed their deep concern and directed the attention of students, faculty, staff and alumni to relief efforts being organized by the Japanese Consulate in San Francisco.

“We are shocked and saddened by the news of the devastating earthquake in the Tohoku District/Pacific Coast of Japan and the waves of tsunami and their effects, which are still ongoing in Japan and elsewhere,” said the letter. “Our hearts go out to all the people whose family, friends, and acquaintances have been affected by this catastrophic event… We would like to bring to your attention the earthquake-related information posted on the homepage of the Consulate-General of Japan in San Francisco… Japanese and other colleagues at MIIS will start a fundraising drive this week... Please look out for announcements.”

“The entire campus community is deeply concerned for the well-being of the students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends who have been affected by this disaster,” added Institute President Sunder Ramaswamy. “We continue to offer support to our students from Japan, to reach out to our alumni and friends located there through e-mail and social media, and we whole-heartedly endorse the efforts of our campus colleagues to raise funds to support relief efforts for the Japanese people.”

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Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir