FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                        Date: October 18, 2000

                                                                                                            Contact: Lezli Austen

UIS, Japanese institute sign sister school pact

SPRINGFIELD – An academic exchange and cooperation agreement between the Ashikaga Institute of Technology (AIT), Japan, and the University of Illinois at Springfield was signed in a formal ceremony Wednesday at the Old State Capitol. UIS Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn and AIT President Tadao Yoshida signed the agreement establishing a sister school relationship.

The two universities will encourage an exchange of students, faculty, staff, research, and publications. “We will be sending 12 to 20 students to Ashikaga next June for a two-week intensive study of language and culture,” said Jonathan GoldbergBelle, director of international affairs at UIS. “The exchange will be open to anyone interested in applying.” Later next summer, six to 10 Japanese students will visit UIS for four weeks, he said.

The Consul General of Japan at Chicago, Mitoji Yabunaka, was present, along with a 15-member delegation from Ashikaga, headed by Mayor Kazuo Hayakawa. In Springfield October 18-21, the visitors will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the official Ashikaga-Springfield Sister Cities relationship. The delegates represent the government, education, and business communities. Their itinerary includes meetings with Springfield Mayor Karen Hasara, a lunch meeting with members of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce and business leaders, and tours of local historic and educational sites.

An agreement was also formalized between Lincoln Land Community College and Ashikaga Junior College.

            This is the third study abroad agreement that UIS has signed this year. The other agreements are with Southampton Institute in England and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. As a public affairs institution dedicated to serving the needs and aspirations of the people of Illinois, UIS is developing a Global Experience Program. Through this program, UIS will continue to extend its vision beyond the boundaries of the city and Illinois in order to prepare its students for their local and global responsibilities.

- 30 -