Qatar University (QU) recently received a donation of books for its library’s Japanese collection from the Japanese embassy.
Japanese Ambassador Yukio Kitazume, accompanied by his wife Hiroko, presented 264 books to QU president Prof Sheikha Abdulla al-Misnad at a ceremony on the Women’s Campus.
QU vice president and chief academic officer Dr Sheikha bint Jabor al-Thani, library director Dr Taj al-Sir Kardaman, students and faculty of the International Affairs Department, and members of QU’s Japanese Club were present.
Prof al-Misnad noted that the university is continually strengthening its ties with Japan through collaboration with academic institutions, student exchanges, and cultural activities.
She pointed out that members of the Japanese Club have a strong passion for Japanese language and culture. “We are keen to support this cultural interaction to encourage students and faculty to have a diversified background,” she said.
Al-Misnad was of the view that there is a lack of awareness of the extent of the relationship between Qatar and Japan. “Quite a number of QU graduates in the oil and gas field are in Japan working in the industry,” she stated.
Presenting the books, ambassador Kitazume noted that it is the fourth time that the embassy is donating books to QU.
“The total number of books donated so far is 559. They are Japanese novels and children’s books, arts, sociology, and language, many of which are translated into English, some into Arabic,” the envoy said.
He explained that the books were on display at the Japanese booth at the recent International Book Fair. “After the book fair, we decided to donate them to Qatar University as it is the centre of academia in Qatar and because of its Japanese Club,” Kitazume said.
“We know that Qatar University will make good use of these books to enhance research on Japan and to help students deepen their understanding of Japanese culture,” he added.
Japanese Club vice president Noor al-Ghanim noted that the donation of books will help members in their reading skills and give them more confidence in their language skills.
Kardaman said he envisages more collaboration with the Japanese embassy especially through the Japanese Club.
Dr Sheikha al-Thani stressed that QU is keen to encourage students and faculty in co-operation activities with universities in Japan.
QU has a number of fellowships on offer for students to study in Japan, she said, and urged the students present to make application for this opportunity.
Hiroko Kitazume spoke about Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, and offered to help the students in the art as well as in that of the tea ceremony and kimono wrapping.
Japanese exchange student Masaki Okuno, currently studying international affairs at QU, was also present at the ceremony.
Okuno arrived in Qatar last September from Maseda University from where he applied and received a one-year grant to pursue his interest in Middle Eastern and Gulf culture.
“I am very impressed by the number of people from all over the world who are studying and living here in Qatar. My hostel is like a mini United Nations, it is a lifetime experience,” he said.
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