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UNU receives Japanese Yen 100 million Akino Memorial Donation
In March, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) announced it would make a major contribution to the United Nations University (UNU) in memory of Dr. Yutaka Akino. The UNU and MOFA have agreed that the Akino Memorial Donation, Y100 million in total, will be used over a period of several years to support four separate UNU activities.
Dr. Akino was an associate professor of the University of Tsukuba and an expert on Central Asia. He was dispatched in April 1998 by the Government of Japan, in response to a request from the United Nations, as a Civil Affairs Officer of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT). While on active service in Tajikistan, on 20 July 1998 Dr. Akino and three UNMOT colleagues were killed by unidentified assailants. One-half of the Y100 million donation will be used to fund a five-year research project in the area of Dr. Akino's academic interest. Most likely this will be a multinational project on Eurasia. It is planned that Y21 million will be allocated over a period of four years to fund one of the UNU International Courses (UNU/IC), which will be designated the "Akino Memorial Course." The proposed UNU/IC programme is aimed at training young people interested in working for internationally oriented public or private foundations. An additional Y20 million would be used to provide financial support for Japanese and other UNU/IC trainees to work as interns for international organizations. The final Y9 million of the donation will be used to organize an annual Hokkaido Session of the UNU Global Seminar series in memory of Dr. Akino, who was born and brought up in Hokkaido. These seminars, which have been held in Kanagawa Prefecture since 1985 and in Kobe since 1995, are intended to bring about a better understanding of the UN and global issues among young people.