On January 20, 2021, Ashinaga was honored to have Dr. Oussouby Sacko, the President of Kyoto Seika University, join us for a webinar titled “The Effects of COVID-19 on International Education.”
Born in Mali in 1966, Dr. Oussouby Sacko studied architecture in China, then moved to Japan in 1991, where he earned his PhD at Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Engineering, Department of Architecture. His research explores the relationships between society and architectural space. He joined Kyoto Seika University in 2001, became a Professor in 2013, to then be appointed President in April 2018. He is also a member of the Ashinaga Kenjin-Tatsujin Advisory Board.
The online event was a conversation among Dr. Sacko, an Ashinaga Staff member and an AAI Scholar. Dr. Sacko discussed the impact of COVID-19 on Kyoto Seika University, on international education in Japan, and on the future of remote studying & working between Africa and Asia.
Kyoto Seika University is a humanities and arts focused school, highly regarded as a globally minded university in Japan. Dr. Sacko’s personal experiences of studying in both China and Japan gives him a deep, personal understanding of cross-cultural exchange and globalization in education.
As he works through the challenges of the pandemic, the underlying goal of bringing students together stays consistent. “Encouraging education systems that can bring young people together is important. Online learning is really giving this opportunity. Everyone comes from it with a different opinion, and it becomes an important exchange,” he says.
Dr. Sacko emphasized the point that when we think globalization, we need to prioritize people before economic benefits. “Before COVID-19 we were pushing globalization. We found out this was purely economically driven. This forgets people. The capacity of that globalization is not going very far. The most important is the globalization between people. What kind of relation do we want to have between young people now that we know we are globally connected?”
In the latter half of the talk, Dr. Sacko spoke about his opinions on the needs young people, to build a thriving future for the continent.
“We have been training in leadership, but we need to train more in entrepreneurship, innovation and management. That’s what we don’t have in Africa, so we need people to learn and go to Africa and teach these things. That is my advice to young Africans, to train themselves to be independent in making decisions. You don’t become a leader suddenly. There are steps that you need to learn. You need to be in poor places, you need to be in rich places, you need to talk to people on the ground. If you stay abroad for too long, you forget.”
We would like to extend our deep gratitude to Dr. Sacko for joining us online, and inspiring students of all nationalities to think critically and develop their unique perspective on the world. If you are interested in finding the full discussion, you can find the full one-and-a-half-hour webinar here.