The Sixth Annual Introduction to Asia Conference will be held Tuesday, February 18, 12 noon until 5 p.m. at the UTC University Center Auditorium.  Admission is free and open to the public.

UTC Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs A. Jerald Ainsworth will introduce keynote speaker Consul-General Motohiko Kato at 12 noon.

Kato, who will address “Security through Peace: Postwar Japan’s Role in Fostering Global Peace and Prosperity,” arrived in Nashville in October 2012 by way of Manila, where he most recently served as Deputy Chief of Mission of the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines. A career diplomat, he entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in 1982 after passing Japan’s foreign service examination. His three-decade career has taken him all over the world, including posts in Singapore, Iran, and Paris. Consul-General Kato has served as director of several MOFA divisions in Tokyo; among them are the Nuclear Energy Division, where he handled nuclear non-proliferation policy and nuclear safety, and the Second International Organization Division, where he oversaw international business transactions and free trade agreements. He has also served as Director of the International Cooperation Division at the National Institute for Research Advancement, a prestigious government think tank.

Catherine Phipps will present “East Asia in 20th Century World History: Critical Themes” beginning at 1:15 p.m.  Phipps is Associate Professor of East Asian History at the University of Memphis. She received her Ph.D. at Duke University in 2006 and specializes in modern Japan, world empires, and historical geography. Her first book, Empires on the Waterfront: Japan’s Ports and Power, 1853-1899 is forthcoming from Harvard University Asia Center.

A refreshment break will follow Phipps’ presentation.

Neelanjan and Tanay Patri will discuss “Indian and American Cultures: Reflections” beginning at 2:20 p.m.

Neelanjan Patri is President of the India Association of Chattanooga and a member of Chattanooga’s Diversity Council. He is responsible for the Enterprise Architecture function at the Tennessee Valley Authority. As part of his responsibilities, he ensures alignment with business and IT while identifying new technology solutions, improving business process efficiencies with maintaining the focus on safety –while being leaner, faster and better. He also assisted in the development of TVA’s Environmental Policy, as well as TVA’s Strategic Plan.

Tanay Patri is a sophomore attending McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  He is an active youth member in the India Association of Chattanooga. He has represented his school in various mathematics and science competitions, and the Chattanooga area at the National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C for three consecutive years. He also serves as captain of the debate team, he’s a top performer in Model UN, and he is co-captain of the chess team.

Lucien Ellington will present “Taiwan and the Republic of Korea: Democratic and Economic Transparency?” beginning at 3:10 p.m. Ellington is a UC Foundation Professor of Education and Director of the Asia Program at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is editor of the Association for Asian Studies teaching journal, Education About Asia, and the organization’s pedagogical booklet series, Key Issues in Asian Studies. He has published five books on Japan and other Asian cultures, and is interested in East Asian economic history, East Asian educational thought, and East Asia in World History.

Asami Nakano and Tae Maruyama will close the conference beginning at 4:10 p.m. with a Japanese tea ceremony with narration.

Nakano is The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Japan Outreach Initiative Coordinator (JOI). She visits Chattanooga area schools to promote Japanese art and culture. Asami has previously taught at elementary schools in Japan and before arriving in Chattanooga, she was a Japan International Cooperation Agency volunteer in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Murayama has been performing the Japanese tea ceremony since she was ten years old. She became an instructor of the ceremony in 1992 and a master in 2006.

Co-sponsors of UTC’s Introduction to Asia Conference include The Freeman Foundation and the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia, The Consulate-General of Japan in Nashville, The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, The Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in Atlanta, UTC Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Geography, UTC Asia Program, UTC College of Arts and Sciences and UTC School of Education.

Introduction to Asia Conference coordinators are Alice Tym and Lucien Ellington.

For more information, please call Jeffrey Melnik at 423/425-2118.

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