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Message from the President

The main activities of MIS have been to discover social problems through visits to Southeast Asian countries, to analyze the causes of problems through discussions among the members, and to plan and execute projects to solve them. Through these activities, in addition to contributing to the resolution of local problems, our goal has been to help ourselves and the students of our local partners grow into human resources with the leadership skills to lead the next generation.

 Now, the global spread of COVID-19, which began at the end of 2019, has brought changes to all aspects of our lives. Among them, the movement of people has been severely restricted, which has shaken the fundamental policy of MIS activities, which had been based on travel to Southeast Asian countries. 

 On the other hand, the situation in Southeast Asia has been changing very rapidly even during COVID-19 pandemic. In February this year, a military coup d’état by the national army occurred in Myanmar, and democracy is on the verge of being lost. In December, the Philippines was hit by typhoon No. 22, which affected millions of people. These tragedies have been compounded by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

 However, even in this situation, we, MIS, would like to continue to search for what we can do. Rather, we would like to actively work on new approaches that are feasible only in this time of COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, we would like to promote multilateral interaction (i.e., interaction among multiple countries), as online communication has become more active due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To begin with, our organization’s name, MIS, stands for Multilateral Interaction with Students. On the other hand, bilateral interaction (i.e., mutual exchange between two countries) was the mainstream before the COVID-19 pandemic, when students traveled to the area. However, now that online conferencing has become the mainstream, I believe that it is more feasible than ever for students from various regions to interact with each other and form a vast multilateral network. I also believe that the community thus formed will help to solve various problems in Southeast Asia.

 It has been 10 years since MIS was founded, and we are at a major turning point in our activities. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to our partners, teachers, and sponsors who have supported our activities to date. And we hope that you will continue to support the future growth of MIS.

Raku Ishizone
the University of Tokyo
Faculty of Agriculture
December 29th, 2021