David Lassner and Kimiko Tsuzuki

The University of Hawaiʻi and the Tsuzuki Education Group entered a formal agreement on November 1, to advance collaborative education and research. The Tsuzuki Education Group includes more than 20 private universities and colleges in multiple locations across Japan.

Through the agreement, any part of the UH System may build on the initial relationships developed by UH Hilo to expand Hawaiʻi-Japan student exchange programs with Tsuzuki campuses and explore compelling initiatives across a wide range of interests such as business, pharmacy, traditional medicine, disaster resilience, technology, volcanology and sustainability.

UH President David Lassner signed the memorandum of understanding with Tsuzuki Chancellor Kimiko Tsuzuki at a ceremony in Fukuoka, Japan. The signing ceremony was a highlight of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Tsuzuki Educational Group’s founding. The event was attended by UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney and more than 800 invited guests including educational leaders from Japan and Europe, Japanese government officials and representatives from Japanese industries.

“Besides our deep cultural and economic connections, both Hawaiʻi and Japan are island communities,” noted Lassner. “We share many common challenges and opportunities to create a better future that we can address together through collaborations with our faculty and students.”

President David Lassner participates in part of the signing ceremony.

This new system-to-system partnership builds on agreements between UH Hilo and Tsuzuki including exchange programs with the Yokohama University of Pharmacy and Japan University of Economics. Straney is continuing to meet with Tsuzuki officials and campuses to explore further opportunities for collaboration for UH Hilo and other UH campuses.

The partnership is also a new chapter in the relationship between Hawaiʻi and Fukuoka, where the Tsuzuki Educational Group is based. Spearheaded by former Governor George Ariyoshi, whose father came from Fukuoka prefecture, the Hawaiʻi-Fukuoka partnership was established 35 years ago as Hawaiʻi’s first sister-state international relationship.