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Tanaka Foundation Expands Asian Studies

Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hobart and Williams Smith have been named the recipient of a $10,000 grant from the Tanaka Memorial Foundation.

Beginning July 1, the year-long grant will help support various aspects of the Asian Languages Program, including funding for an Asian language teaching position through the Alliance for Language Learning and Educational Exchange (ALLEX), which provides trained instructors to post-secondary institutions to maintain high-quality language programs.

Grace Chang will serve as this year's ALLEX instructor for lectures and labs in the Chinese language. A Taiwan native, Chang earned her B.A. at Christ's College in Taipei, Taiwan, and completed her master's at the Queen's University of Belfast in Northern Ireland. She also has a certificate for teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language from TCSOL at the Teachers College of Columbia University. As part of her cultural exchange on campus, Chang will take two courses each semester at HWS in addition to teaching.

The number of students pursing degrees in Asian Languages and Cultures continues to grow on the Hobart and William Smith campus; as a result, the number of language and area-studies courses offered has steadily expanded, requiring more instructors. The Colleges have worked to increase challenging and stimulating course offerings through their association with ALLEX.

The close relationship between the Colleges and the Tanaka Memorial Foundation is indispensable in helping to foster global awareness on the HWS campus and sustain the growth of the Asian Studies Department.

It is through the Tanaka Asian Studies Endowment that the Tanaka Lectureship in Japanese is maintained. An integral part of the Asian Languages Program, the lectureship provides students studying the Japanese language with a full-time language instructor. Currently serving as the Tanaka Lecturer is Kyoko Ishida-Klaus, who works with Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Cultures James-Henry Holland to create a team approach to language education that is both intensive and highly successful.

Since 1992, the Tanaka Memorial Foundation has been a major contributor to the education and intellectual growth of both faculty and students on campus, enabling them to travel abroad as part of Technos International Week. The transformative experience provides a cross-cultural exchange to two students and a member of faculty each June when Technos International College in Tokyo generously hosts the enriching program.

In addition each year, students are also awarded with the Technos International Prizes on behalf of the Tanaka Ikeuikai Educational Trust. Upon completion of their undergraduate careers, two students-one Hobart and one William Smith-are acknowledged for their global awareness and commitment to international understanding. This year's recipients are Khalym Burke-Thomas '13 and Kimberly Guzman '13.

The Colleges' relationship with the Tanaka family dates back to the late 1980s when Dr. Kenji Tanaka visited the campus with his daughters, Makiko and Kimiko. A friendship was forged on that visit between the Tanaka family and the Colleges that has not only continued but has flourished over the years since.

Over the following years, gifts made to Hobart and William Smith by the Tanaka family supported the Colleges and the Asian Studies program. In 1992, Hobart and William Smith formally received the first of what were to become yearly gifts of support by the Tanaka Memorial Foundation. With the first of these grants, the Colleges established the Tanaka Asian Studies Endowment; and since then, the Tanaka Memorial Foundation has grown that endowment generously.

In 1992 the Colleges bestowed upon Dr. Tanaka an honorary degree to convey our gratitude and high esteem of Dr. Tanaka and to demonstrate the Colleges' conviction of the importance of partnerships that cross national boundaries and promote international understanding.

In 2011, Makiko Tanaka, current president of the Tanaka Memorial Foundation, received an honorary degree from the Colleges for "her visionary leadership and commitment to improving the lives of others."

The top photo features Grace Chang.

The group photo features Kim Guzman ’13, Kimberly King ’14, Nathan Francisco ’13, Ema Johnson ’16 and Tanaka lecturer in Asian Languages and Cultures Kyoko Klaus as well as Technos students Ryo Sugahara and Shinya Kamitsumagari during a reception held in the Common Room in their honor.

 


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