Students and Teachers Gather for the Natural Disaster Youth Summit and Kotolympic, iEARN Taisho Koto Project in Niigata, Japan
From August 3 - 8, 2016, the Natural Disaster Youth Summit (NDYS) and Kotolympic, iEARN Taisho Koto Project had a successful collaborative gathering of teachers and students in Niigata, Japan. These gatherings were the Natural Disaster Youth Summit 2016 in NIIGATA and the 64th Niigata City Art Festival “Kotolympic 2016 in Niigata”.
100 students and teachers from more than 10 countries and regions united together in Niigata to present their studies on natural disasters and also enjoyed playing the taisho koto, a traditional Japanese musical instrument, on stage. 961 taisho koto lovers and audience members from Japan participated in the event as well. This was the annual gathering of NDYS but this was the first big international gathering for Kotolympic.
Students learned from each other about different cultures around the world while reviewing the 11th UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG-11) that aims to make the cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable in addition to the 13th UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG-13) that aims to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
Students discussed and announced the NDYS declaration:
“To kindle the passion within, students need to take responsibility, for the world is in their hands.”
At the same time, they learned how to play the taisho koto and enjoyed the beauty of Japanese music. Mr. Kingen, who is the representative of Kotolympic, and many taisho koto players taught the international students how to play the taisho koto. During their music lessons, students enjoyed cultural exchange with taisho koto lovers, not just based on their different nationalities but across different generations.
One of the participants, Meera, from St. Mark's Senior Secondary Public School in New Delhi reflected:
"Thank you so much for those wonderful five days that our team from India spent at the beautiful amalgamation of NDYS, Kotolympic and taisho koto. Right from day one when we were taken to the history museum, to the fireworks on the last day, each and every moment spent there has been etched onto our hearts and memories and are sure to last a lifetime. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude and regards to you for inviting us to such a gala event. Also, extend our heartfelt thanks to Mr. Kingen for the superb stay and the lovely gifts of taisho koto and yukata. We would definitely like to be a part of the next Kotolympic and hope to learn more from the experience."