Online Rikuzen Takata Project


Program Dates: February 19 & 26, 2021, 3:30-7:30 PM US Pacific Time
Open to: US university students
Location: Online
Application Deadline: January 24, 2021

SDGs x Rikuzentakata x YOU

US university students are invited to join a two-day virtual workshop with students from Rikkyo University in Tokyo, Hong Kong University, and the National University of Singapore to virtually explore the city of Rikuzen Takata, which was devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, its journey of recovery, and its vision of creating a sustainable community. Participants will discuss the Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs) and collaborate cross-culturally to present their ideas for sustainable community development.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand social issues in Japan through the lens of disaster recovery.
  • Develop a global perspective on community implications of disaster recovery.
  • Explore the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development and consider how they may be applied in different contexts to develop more sustainable communities.
  • Build connections with peers from Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.


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Get a glimpse into the projects of past participants!

Pre-Workshop Preparation

  • Reading materials will be provided

Day 1: February 19 (3:30 – 7:30 PM)

  • 3:30 PM – Cross-cultural Icebreaker and Introduction to Sustainable Communities
  • 4:30 PM – Crossroads Game with Marugoto Rikuzentakata to learn about the Rikuzen Takata community, the 2011 disaster, recovery, and post-disaster initiatives
  • 6:30 PM – Group Discussions

Break: February 20-25

  • 1-2 hours of self-directed collaboration in small groups (synchronous or asynchronous)

Day 2: February 26 (3:30 – 7:30 PM)

  • 3:30 PM – Check-in
  • 4:00 – 5:30 PM – Group Discussion and Presentation Preparations
  • 5:45 – 6:45 PM – Group Presentations (10 minutes per group, including Q&A)
  • 6:45 PM – Conclusion and Wrap-up

Minimum Eligibility Requirements

There is no cost to participate. In order to apply for this program, you must be a current student at a US university. Additionally, you will need:

  • Reliable access to the internet
  • A computer or mobile device with a camera and microphone, or headphones with a microphone
  • Ability to use the Zoom video call application
  • To be available to join all online sessions and group discussions
  • To be able to complete all required activities

Application Timeline

  • Deadline – January 24, 2021 (11:59 PM US Pacific Standard Time)
  • Interviews – January 25-27
  • Results – January 28

Application Questions

Personal Information

  • First and Last Names
  • Preferred Name / Nickname
  • Date of Birth
  • Pronouns / Third Person Referral
  • University and Major / Field of Study
  • Graduation Month and Year
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • VIA Affiliation (if any)

Essay Questions (no more than 500 words per question)

  • Japan or Cross-Cultural Experience – Please describe your experience and/or interest in Japan and cultural exchange, particularly in learning more about Rikuzen Takata, a community greatly affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Even if it’s your first time to interact with peers from Japan, please share some of your impressions and what you hope to learn. Please also share any past experiences and perspectives on cultural exchange.
  • Sustainability and Community Development – Please describe your interest in the Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs), sustainability generally, and community development. If it’s your first time engaging with these topics, what are some questions you hope to explore in these areas?

Reserve Interview Time

  • At the end of the application, there will be a link to reserve an interview time. Click the link and follow the instructions to reserve your interview time. You will receive an email to confirm the time your interview is scheduled.  If your application is not selected, your interview reservation will be canceled. If you have any difficulties scheduling your interview, contact Melissa Golden (melissa@viaprograms.org).


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