West Liberty University Welcomes Japanese Educator – WLU: News & Media Relations – West Liberty University

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WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Aug. 12, 2022 — West Liberty University welcomed a new international visitor this August as Manami Kawazoe of Japan moved onto campus and began her role as an official Japan Outreach Initiative (JOI) Coordinator.
The Japan Outreach Initiative is a joint program of the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnerships Department, located in Japan, and the Laurasian Institution, located in the United States, that brings volunteer Japanese coordinators to regions of the U.S. where Japanese culture is less accessible. 
“I am so very pleased to have welcome Manami here on campus, as part of the 20th year cohort of Japan Outreach Coordinators. The Rollie Williams International Center at WLU will host her for the next two years helping us to spread cultural awareness in our area,” explained Mia Szabo, WLU’s director of International Enrollment Services and International Student Advisor.
“Manami is our host-assigned coordinator in the Japan Outreach Initiative Program (JOI), which I applied to so that West Liberty University could take advantage of this wonderful program that offers cultural advantages to us all.”
Szabo has served the international community at WLU for nearly 14 years and her office is located in the Rollie Williams International Center, located in historic Shotwell Hall. Kawazoe will be supervised by Szabo.
“WLU is now one of only 10 institutions in the United States to host a Japan Outreach Coordinator. With Manami’s help we will be able to seek partnerships with Japanese institutions, offer cultural awareness programs at WLU, and the Ohio Valley community as well,” Szabo said.
“I am so grateful to the team that assisted me in securing Manami which included our 2020 alumnus from Japan Megumi Maruta, and Dr. Miriam Douglas, along with myself,” Szabo added. Douglas is an associate professor and Community Education Director in WLU’s College of Education and Human Performances.
Kawazoe’s hometown is Kyoto, Japan and she has a degree in business. She formerly worked in the tourist industry and as a Japanese language teacher.
“I am pleased to join West Liberty University and look forward to meeting the students and employees. I also hope to work with the community at large to build a bridge between our two countries and share our culture with area residents,” said Kawazoe, who lists yoga, traveling and movies as a few of her hobbies.
The JOI coordinator is funded by the Japanese government (salary, travel and living stipends). WLU provides housing and office space, administrative support and guidance regarding the best application of the coordinator’s efforts in order to achieve the most impact in their work.
According to the program’s website (laurasian.org/joi), since 2002, JOI coordinators have reached more than a million Americans in the South and Midwest of the country, areas where there are typically fewer Japan-related activities and opportunities for exchange.
JOI coordinators often share culture through programs that teach origami, tea ceremonies, taiko drums, anime and more. They also offer teacher workshops for area teachers instructing students in grades K – 16.
“Manami is available to collaborate with WLU departments, visit schools, recreation centers, libraries, senior living communities, university clubs, and other public locations in the area,” Szabo said.
Szabo leads a busy international center that offers many activities and a variety of support for the international students who attend WLU. Approximately 70 international students are expected to study at WLU this fall, representing 35 countries.
Szabo is assisted in her work by Ryan Glanville, coordinator of International Programs and Recruiting. For more information, please contact Szabo at 304.336.8270.
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MAUREEN ZAMBITO
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West Liberty University
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West Liberty, WV 26074
West Liberty University, established in 1837, was the first institution of higher education in West Virginia. Today, we are a dynamic, inclusive, student-centered community that cultivates scholarly exploration, experiential learning, creative expression, and global citizenship.

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Need an expert for your news story? Please call WLU Media Relations today!
MAUREEN ZAMBITO
Director of Media Relations
Address:
West Liberty University
219 Shaw Hall
208 University Drive
West Liberty, WV 26074
Email: ma*************@we*********.edu
Work: 304.336.8203
Cell: 304.280.6074

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2 thoughts on “West Liberty University Welcomes Japanese Educator – WLU: News & Media Relations – West Liberty University”

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