Intercultural exchange between Japan and Galápagos

Welcome of Galapagos students in Haha-jima Island in the Ogasawara archipelago in Japan.

The Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), with the support of the Boninology Institute, the Japanese Association for Galápagos (JAGA) and several collaborators and authorities from Japan, carried out a student exchange program between the Galápagos and the Ogasawara Islands in Japan. The Ogasawara Islands have been a Natural World Heritage Site since 2011. Ogasawara is an archipelago of about 30 volcanic islands located 1,000 km south of Tokyo. The largest is similar in size to Floreana in Galápagos, with a population of approximately 2,500 people.

To make this exchange possible, the Japanese Association for Galápagos and the authorities in Japan relied on the Charles Darwin Foundation to select four young people from Galápagos, who traveled to Ogasawara.

During the visit to Japan, these students learned about the local community and culture, as well as the challenges of working on the conservation of the Ogasawara Islands. For about three intense weeks, the young visitors from Galápagos had the opportunity to meet authorities from the islands and from Tokyo, as well as several researchers, professors, and students. Their visit coincided with activities, which had been developed throughout this entire year, to commemorate a century of diplomatic relations between Ecuador and Japan. It is in the interest of the municipality of Ogasawara, the Governor of Tokyo, the CDF and our collaborators in Japan to maintain this long-term program.

Roberto León, from Jacinto Gordillo High School on Isabela Island, shared his experience with us after the visit: "I am really excited to have gone to Japan, it has been an unforgettable trip. I enjoyed meeting so many kind, funny and punctual people; sharing with them was unique, I felt as if they were part of my family. I also liked to travel to the Ogasawara Islands, it was interesting to see how they protect and take care of the place where they live, as well as the coexistence between the community and nature".

At the end of August we will receive a group of students from Ogasawara, who will share time and experiences with local authorities, students, and the community here in Galápagos.

The “Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands”, in French “Fondation Charles Darwin pour les îles Galapagos”, Association International sans but lucratif (“AISBL”), has its registered office located at Drève du Pieuré 19, 1160 Brussels, and is registered under the trade registry of Brussels under the number 0409.359.103.

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