Oku-Inoue Commemorative Youth UN Visit

          On March 27, eight Japanese junior and senior high school student award winners of a national speech/essay contest visited the Permanent Mission of Japan through the “Oku-Inoue Commemorative Youth UN Visit Program”.
          This program was originally developed by Ambassador Katsuhiko Oku in 2001 during his tenure as director of the UN Policy Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Tragically, Ambassador Oku and his colleague, First Secretary Mr. Inoue, would later fall victim to a terrorist attack in Iraq in 2003. In their memory, and to commemorate their striving for peace and the reconstruction of Iraq, this program took their names beginning in 2005.
          Ambassador Kawamura reflected on his memories with Ambassador Oku as they began their diplomatic careers in the same year. He then shared his personal experiences serving as a diplomat and described the nature of his work at this mission. The Ambassador went on to explain the importance of “preventive diplomacy” discussed in the UN, citing the numbers associated with the cost of conflict and how much could be saved through conflict prevention, including the resolution of security and development challenges. Students on the program raised questions such as, “Why did you join the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?” and “What was your most important job you were assigned?”  The meeting session turned out to be a friendly and lively one.
          During the program, students visited the US Mission, Iraq Mission, UNICEF, UNHCR, and UN-Women, where they were briefed by officers about their unique roles and the work of their respective organizations. Students also enjoyed a luncheon with Japanese UN staff, and participated in a Q&A session, asking how best to achieve their future ambitions, and what the staffs themselves were like when they were students.