Guided by the global vision of our foundress, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, Sacred Heart schools in Japan participated in the first Global Day at the University of the Sacred Heart in Tokyo, on November, 20, 2016. Students from six of our sister schools in Japan gathered to explore ideas related to what it means to have a global mind in today’s world, and to renew their commitment to the Goals of the Sacred Heart.
After months of preparation, students, faculty and parents from the International School of the Sacred Heart, Fuji, Obayashi, Sapporo, Sankocho (Tokyo) and the University arrived on the campus in Hiroo. All were excited to be a part of this long-awaited event, conducted in the common global language of communication: English.
After a warm Welcome by Sister Mieko Uno rscj, Chair of the Board, Professor Brenda Bushell and Professor Toshiko Hamaguchi from the University of the Sacred Heart, delivered a lecture entitled "Building Global Minds through Learning and Discovery." They shared students’ definitions of Global Mindedness, which included ideas such as acceptance, curiosity, flexibility, communication, leadership and critical thinking.
Lecture by the Professors The students who shared their experiences
The lecture set the stage for Junior and Middle school students to talk about their experiences of encountering foreign cultures and languages and how it changed their perception of themselves and the world. “The World is such a big place. And I am just a small person. So how can a small person have a chance to make the big, big world even better and more exceptional than before?” wondered 8th grader Chihiro from the International School of the Sacred Heart at the start of her speech. She went on to talk about how one small act of kindness can change the world. She urged the audience, not to “sit here, expecting something to happen without stepping forward and acting.” This message was echoed by a student from Obayashi, who emphasized the importance of greeting strangers and friends alike with a smile. Fourth grader Kiho, also from the International School, compared the world to a color ball, with her school’s blue and green uniform similar to the globe, with many different nationalities, cultures and religions at her school, making it into a very beautiful ball.
During the intermission that followed, eighty Junior School students were ushered out to enjoy play time in English. With them were teachers and students from the International School, assisted by students from the University of the Sacred Heart. Following the theme of Thanksgiving, they read stories and made paper turkeys. Other attendees perused the exhibition panels which showcased the initiatives of each sister school in Japan to reach out and connect to the world.
Five High School students and one student from the University then participated in a panel discussion on “A Global Mind at Sacred Heart”. Each student talked about what her school is doing to enable young women to become global thinkers and leaders. Theint Theint, a Senior from the International School of the Sacred Heart, eloquently described the privilege of having the opportunity to turn to a student from any given country to ask her about a news story, or have her explain a custom as it relates to her home country. She talked about her school, saying, “Our school is a place where people who are historically meant to hate one another, can come together to learn and to grow. Above all, it is a place where we see the beauty and power in our differences.”
Cecile Meijer rscj, making her presentation Play time in English
It was a privilege for the schools in Japan to have Sister Cecile Meijer rscj with us the whole day. Representative of the Society of the Sacred Heart at the United Nations-NGO Office, she spoke to us, saying that it is not enough to be compassionate. She fired the audience up with a call to action, to recognize the humanity in those who are in need, to be kind, and to leave the world a better place for being in it.
I am sure that Saint Madeleine Sophie would have been proud to know that 200 years after she founded the Society of the Sacred Heart, young women in Japan share her vision to dedicate themselves to creating a world where love and understanding are central to their lives.
High School Principal
International School of the Sacred Heart
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