In a few days I will be travelling to Hiroshima, Japan to participate in the INU Summer Master School on Global Citizenship and Peace. I am excited but nervous. With promises of meeting a diverse group of people with similar interests from around the world, making international connections for potential future collaboration and being immersed in a new and foreign culture, I am eagerly looking forward to arriving in Hiroshima at 300km an hour on one of Japan’s famed Shinkansens.
Yet the challenges ahead also seem pretty daunting. I expect to be tested culturally, intellectually and personally. Amongst activities to become more familiar with Japanese culture I will also be given the opportunity to witness the deeply poignant Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony to commemorate the dropping of the atomic bomb. In seminars we will be discussing issues fraught with potent political and cultural dimensions which will likely draw out and challenge each of our ingrained presumptions, an experience that will no doubt serve us well in the future as global citizens. I imagine that this will be the sort of experience which dispels preconceptions and rebuilds more complex, nuanced understandings of the world, a process which is never easy but always rewarding!