Illinois College -> Grants support Asian Studies and the Environment Initiative at Illinois College
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Grants support Asian Studies and the Environment Initiative at Illinois College


The Henry Luce Foundation and the Japan Foundation, New York, together, have awarded nearly $80,000 in grant funding to Illinois College in support of its work on Asian studies and the environment, a collaboration with Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan.

Illinois College President Axel Steuer said, “We are very grateful to the Henry Luce Foundation and to the Japan Foundation, New York, for supporting this initiative, and for their support of our strong partnership with Ritsumeikan University. Through this initiative our faculty in Japanese studies, in environmental biology, and in other science disciplines will conduct important interdisciplinary work and establish scientific connections with Ritsumeikan University scientists. Our current and future students will also benefit from a deeper understanding of Japan and of the natural environment.”

Elizabeth Tobin, dean of the college, described the multi-year program. “The grant ideas for this program came from a group of creative faculty. We started with a study group of science faculty who learned more about Japanese culture and language.”

Tobin continued, “I am thrilled that the $50,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, through its Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment, allows three faculty members to visit Japan this summer, meeting with Japanese scientists at Ritsumeikan University. They will explore research opportunities about the environment for Illinois College students at Ritsumeikan.”

The next step in the project is a multidisciplinary faculty-student seminar focused on Japan and environmental concerns, during the 2013-2014 academic year. The Symposium on Science, Sustainability and Teaching in February 2014 concludes the seminar. Ritsumeikan University science faculty members will join in this symposium, which will include formal academic presentations and informal discussions of science, sustainability and teaching. These aspects of the project also are funded by the Henry Luce Foundation grant.

According to Steuer, the Japan Foundation, New York, has awarded $30,000 to support the principal costs of a “Views of Japan” BreakAway trip to Japan in summer 2014. Illinois College professors Reiko Itoh and Laura Corey will lead a dozen students to Japan for three weeks. In Japan, they will visit science labs and attend lectures on environmental issues and sustainability.

Steuer said, “This important initiative builds further collaborations between Illinois College and Ritsumeikan University, and enhances our students’ understanding of Japan, the environment, and issues of sustainability that our nation shares with Japan.”
The Henry Luce Foundation ( was established in 1936 by the late Henry R. Luce, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China. The Foundation seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities. The Luce Foundation pursues its mission today through the following grant-making programs: American Art; East Asia; Luce Scholars; Theology; Higher Education and the Henry R. Luce Professorships; the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs; Public Policy and the Environment; and the Clare Boothe Luce Program for women in science, mathematics and engineering.

The Japan Foundation was established in 1972 by special legislation in the Japanese Diet and became an Independent Administrative Institution in October 2003. The mission of the Japan Foundation is to promote international cultural exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and other countries. The Foundation established the Japan-America Collegiate Exchange Travel Program to facilitate exchange and understanding between Japan and the U.S. The Japan Foundation provides travel funds to Japan for undergraduates and one faculty member. Instructors teaching a Japan-related course at U.S. universities or colleges can apply for a grant to help fund a short-term study-tour to Japan, while incorporating the visit into course syllabi and itineraries arranged to build-on and enrich course contents. The goal is to provide students with firsthand experience that will allow them to gain a more nuanced and balanced understanding of Japan.
About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Ill. With an enrollment of about 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs and a Master of Arts in Education degree program. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

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