On December 18, 2019, Meiji Gakuin University became the first university in Japan to enter into a global internship agreement with UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund). The connection between Meiji Gakuin and UNICEF began when a UNICEF alumnus was invited to serve as a training course instructor for the university’s Global Leader Internship program, leading eventually to the current internship agreement between UNICEF and Meiji Gakuin.
UNICEF is thus far engaged in similar internship partnerships with 33 universities and institutions around the world. With the addition of Meiji Gakuin, this university’s students are now eligible to be selected for work offers from UNICEF offices in over 130 countries. While the agreement sets no limits on participant numbers or schedules, Meiji Gakuin plans to send two students to participate for two to six months from September 2020 in the framework of its long-term international student exchange program, Global Leader Internship.
Meiji Gakuin will provide partial support for international travel and living costs required for their participation.
This addition to Meiji Gakuin’s Global Leader Internship program, whose existing activities include the placement of students in the United Nations Youth Volunteer project as well as in NPOs/NGOs in Cambodia and Singapore, will provide an important opportunity for students to further expand their global activities.
■Meiji Gakuin University’s “Global Leader Internship”
Principally through the work of its International Center, Meiji Gakuin University is building on its Global Leader Internship program in order to train students who understand the principles of the United Nations Global Compact, of which the university is a member, and can contribute to sustainable development.
This is an opportunity for students to enhance the intellectual abilities required for wide-ranging cultural understanding, excellent language and communication skills, and knowledge and problem-solving in relation to the global challenges detailed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In addition to global awareness, the program helps students develop a spirit of volunteerism and career design skills by providing opportunities to gain volunteering and work experience. Many students at Meiji Gakuin University aspire to help society through employment in the social welfare field or as educators, or to participate in international institutions or NGOs in Japan and overseas.
The Global Leader Internship supports these students’ needs and contributes to the attainment of their future goals.
■UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund)
Headquartered in New York City, UNICEF is a United Nations agency which promotes children’s welfare.
Its activities include supporting children in developing countries and regions affected by war, widely promoting the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and carrying out parent education programs.
UNICEF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965.