Sep 6

Australian JETAA chapters recognized for Tohoku revitalization efforts at CLAIR Sister Cities Forum

Via the JETAA New South Wales (Australia) website:

The work and support by members and participants of the JET Programme and JETAA chapters for the revitalisation of Tohoku after the 2011 earthquake, was formally recognised in an award presentation at the 2013 CLAIR Sister Cities Forum.

Presented by Alderman William (Bill) Willson, President of Sister Cities Australia, the award was received by Ben Trumbell, president of the NSW chapter of JETAA. It was given in the presence of Ms Yoko Kimura, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of CLAIR (Council of Local Authorities for International Relations) and Dr Masahiro Kohara, Consul-General of Japan in Sydney.

“The award was presented to me as the closest president representative of JETAA. In my acceptance speech I outlined the importance of the JET Programme and the number of participants and members of JETAA, along with our objectives and a summary of our activities,” Ben said. “Australia has been fantastic in their response to the events in Tohoku. The Victorian JETAA chapter for example did fantastic work with the Big Bento Lunch initiative which raised more than $15,000 across our chapters.” The NSW chapter’s achievements should also be noted for raising awareness, starting with an exhibition of Fukushima school children’s letters at the 2011 Sydney Japan Festival, which lead to the visit of Councillor Alan de Surf of a junior high school in the city of Iwaki, Fukushima.

The 2013 CLAIR Sister Cities Forum marked the 50th Anniversary of the sister city relationship between Lismore, NSW and Yamato Takada in Nara, Japan. This was the first ever sister city relationship between Australia and Japan and was instrumental in initiating the close post-war relationship that exists between the two countries today, thanks to the efforts of Father Paul Glynn who began the first efforts in forging this link.

The subject of sister cities will continued to be explored by JETAA in the annual JETAA conference to be held later this year in Brisbane. Ben states that he hopes to share ideas and case studies including the Lismore-Yamato Takada story at the conference, as well as looking forward to sharing the award with the other chapters and presenting the certificate to the Australian country representative.

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