Feb 1, 2012
On Thursday, January 26, 2012, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to Japan, H.E. John V. ROOS, visited APU and held a special lecture with a group of APU students. Before the lecture Ambassador ROOS met with APU President KORENAGA Shun and members of the APU executive. Ambassador ROOS was accompanied by his wife and an entourage from the US Embassy and Fukuoka Consulate.
During his meeting with President KORENAGA, Ambassador ROOS asked a number of questions about the APU student body, the dual language system, and the career paths of APU graduates. At the end of the brief discussion, President KORENAGA presented the Ambassador with a locally produced bamboo handicraft vase and the Ambassador presented the President with a pair of official embassy cufflinks.
During his lecture, the Ambassador opened up the floor to questions from the audience and candidly responded to a range of questions including the Japan-US relationship, education in a globalised world, the US stance towards East Asia, and America’s role in the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster relief efforts.
In response to a question about diplomacy and cultural differences Ambassador ROOS said, “Diplomacy is the same, in certain respects, all over the world – it’s about developing people to people connections. Diplomacy all comes down to individuals interacting with individuals – my sitting down with the foreign minister or the prime minister, for instance. There are big issues that you’re dealing with but a lot depends on the interactions of individuals. In any kind of diplomatic circumstance, you have to be sensitive to, and make adjustments for, the different cultures you’re dealing with and the different ways people approach different issues”.
On the subject of “Operation Tomodachi” - the US response to the Tohoku earthquake including the dispatch of 20,000 US troops, Ambassador ROOS said, “Japan was hit with an unprecedented multi-dimensional crisis and we are very proud that we could play at least a small role in the response effort. I think that we played the role that the Japanese wanted us to play during the crisis”.
At the conclusion of the lecture, Ambassador ROOS invited everyone up to the podium for an impromptu group photo before leaving for a meeting with the Governor of Oita Prefecture.
The Ambassador’s lecture was attended by over 130 students, faculty and staff who all enjoyed the rare opportunity to interact first-hand with a top-level member of the US administration. APU currently has 45 students from the US and affiliations with over 40 US universities and institutions.