Close Menu

Third annual Whitworth Symposium Nov. 12 to feature speaker from Mukogawa Women's University

November 10, 2009
International Education Week also to include student poster presentations, faculty-led roundtable discussions with students from Japan and Whitworth

>> Listen to Podcast

In anticipation of International Education Week Nov. 16-20, the Whitworth University School of Education will sponsor a symposium, "Building Bridges and Breaking Down Barriers," featuring a keynote speech by Takashi OTSU, a lecturer at Mukogawa Women's University, in Japan. OTSU will speak on Thursday, Nov. 12, at 6 p.m., in the Hixson Union Building at Whitworth. The symposium also will feature student poster presentations and faculty-led roundtable discussions with students from Japan and Whitworth students, who will discuss the similarities and differences between education in the U.S. and Japan.

Ken Wrye, former director of the United Nations International School, in New York, will present a closing address at the symposium. Wrye, who graduated from Whitworth in 1966, has extensive teaching experience in Afghanistan, Greece and Moscow. Admission to the symposium is free and open to the public. For more information, please call (509) 777-3459.

OTSU's teaching specialties include French and English citizenship education. He received his bachelor of law degree in 1991 and his master’s in education in 1994. He has experience in teaching on the high school level and the university level in Japan. He was on the law faculty at the University of Tokyo, and he also taught master's- and doctoral-level courses in education. Additionally, he was a lecturer at Science University of Tokyo and Chuo Gakuin University.

The education symposium is a collaboration between Whitworth, Mukogawa Women’s University, Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute, Gonzaga University and Eastern University. The first symposium was hosted by Mukogawa Women's University and the Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute. Kaoru Nakatani, a former professor at the Mukogawa Women's University, first conceived the idea.

"The symposium is designed to promote a greater understanding of international issues in teacher education and appreciate of other cultures," says Roberta Wilburn, director of graduate studies in education at Whitworth.

The purpose of International Education Week, which is endorsed by the U.S. Departments of Education and State, is to build international understanding, to encourage programs that prepare Americans for life in a global environment, and to attract future leaders from abroad to study in the United States. The week is celebrated by more than 100 countries worldwide, according to the U.S. Department of Education website.

Whitworth requires all students to take a cross-cultural studies course as a component of their graduation requirements and offers dozens of international study tours and exchange programs that take students to the far reaches of the globe. A few years ago, the university launched its School of Global Commerce & Management, reflecting the growing international focus of Whitworth's undergraduate and graduate programs in accounting, economics and management.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Whitworth Graduate Studies in Education office, (509) 777-3228.

Roberta Wilburn, director of graduate studies in education, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4603 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or