Jul 8

David Jacobson, a former Monbusho Scholar who now works for Seattle-based Chin Music Press (founded by former Monbusho English Fellow Bruce Rutledge), has just posted a really terrific piece titled The JET Program’s Finest Hour about the role of JET and JET alumni in response to the Tohoku Earthquake Disaster.  David did a particularly effective job of documenting the topic and pulling information together in a way that had not been done to date.  And it demonstrates a very clear “Return on JET-vestment.”

Here’s the link:  http://chinmusicpress.com/blog.php?action=display&entryID=13

David comments that the JET Program’s “support this spring, in the aftermath of the devastating March 11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, may have marked the program’s finest hour.”  And his research helps document information such as:

“Within hours after the disaster, Eric Butler, a former JET who lives in Calgary, Alberta, created a Facebook page, Foreigners from Miyagi. He intended it as a place to discuss how to help the quake victims, but within days it attracted nearly 700 users, many in Japan, and morphed into a forum for those seeking the whereabouts of JETs or others in disaster areas.”

The article also acknowledged and put JETwit’s role in perspective in the larger context:

“Editor (and JET alumnus) Steven Horowitz began a similar effort providing up-to-the minute updates on JETwit, a blog that has evolved into the de facto central information source for the JET alumni community. But he also saw his role as helping JET alums become involved in the relief effort, listing opportunities for volunteers, translators, even offering practical advice for those in Japan. And he recommended that JETs get the word out: “Make yourself available to talk to schools, churches, companies, other organizations. Engage your grad school or college alumni offices. Wear a button that says, ‘Ask Me About Japan.’”

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