This short term program “International Spring School for Environmental Studies” is designed to understand and deepen the environmental issues (this year, we focus on energy, food, and societies of urban and rural areas) in our daily life through both lecture courses and field studies with active discussion among international participants. This program provides various techniques and knowledge of environmental science (environmental engineering, marine ecology, atmospheric chemistry, agronomy, and soil science) in Kansai region, Japan.
In total, 21 graduate students (included 2 undergraduates) from 15 countries in 14 Universities (included Kyoto Univ.) joined this program via strict screening. From GSGES, 28 lecturers gave lectures about various research in Environmental Studies at the field and class room. In addition, guest professor John WENGER from University College Cork, gave a special seminar about Atmospheric Chemistry. The program ended according to plan, and active discussion on future energy and nuclear energy had conducted from 2 standpoints; evacuees from Fukushima-daiichi power plant, and people promoting nuclear power plant via lectures and field visit. Also, the state of rural agricultural area and its future had discussed from various perspectives, such as, wise-use/hand-down of traditional knowledge, very few successors in rich natural resource, through the experience to live in mountainous villages and learning about transition of agro-industry and changes in resource. The program was only provided in English, but participants tried to understand each other and help mutually in communication among participants which provided proper opportunity to enhance communication skills. In addition, this program provided not only academic knowledge, but also precious experiences in communal work and talk with local residents in rural area which deepen participants’ thoughts in real society in Japan.