In the summer of 1954, I was one of lucky Fulbright exchange students on a steamship left Yokohama to Seattle which took almost two weeks, for my study on designing chemical plants. The first class compartment on Union Pacific railway was luxurious beyond my expectation in poverty stricken Japan after the World War II. The scenics of vast wild fields in Idaho and Utah and beautiful Rocky mountains were immensely impressive. The flat corn fields to the horizon over Nebraska and Kansas plains seen from the top of Red Rock Theater nearby Denver, Colorado, were totally overwhelming to me. This Fulbright experience (and others later) completely changed my life. One incident/experience among many;
At the University of Nebraska, I was a poor student, and my professor (Herbert T. Bates) kindly arranged an assistant job. It was a research on the radiation of heat in annealing steel furnace for the U.S. Steel Corporation. Radiation equation included temperature with 4th power, thus was very non-linear. I had to crank Tiger machine many afternoons in his room.
Every time when I entered his office in late afternoon, I bowed to him as a Japanese traditional greeting. One day, he jumped up from his chair and shouted at me with an angry red face; "You shall never bow to me any longer!! I am not a god!! I am just a student before the truth of science as same as you are!!" I could not understand what he was saying for a while because of my poor English at that time. However, when I realized it, my whole body was shaken and my eyes were full of tears. This was because I was educated with Japanese militarism and feudalistic Confucianism to subserviently respect my superiors, elders and teachers. (A journalist of Asahi Shimbun, one of the largest newspapers in Japan, once said that Japan is the country of slavery.) I could not expect to hear such words from a revered professor in Japan.
This incident taught me American democratic spirit and entrepreneurship. Ever since, my subconscious desire was how to let my Japanese friends have the same experience. This was one of the reasons for the creation of the logo of our GLOSAS/USA. My acceptance speech for the Lord Perry Award for Excellence in Distance Education in the fall of 1994 described the meaning and reasons of the logo -- more later.
The GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association in the U.S.A. (GLOSAS/USA) was established in 1988 as a New York publicly supported, non profit, tax exempt (501(c)(3) and 509(a)(1)), educational service organization. Its membership is international and open to all. The objective is to promote the quality and availability of education and training through international course exchange by means of telecommunication and information technologies. It will also seek to provide in global scale all kinds of educational, cultural, information, knowledge, vocational and community activities, rather than being confined only to traditional educational offerings. One GLOSAS project is to create a Global (electronic) University (GU) System to facilitate communication between educators and learners regardless of their location, socio-cultural background or physical characteristics. GLOSAS attempts to provide cooperative, experiential learning opportunities on the widest possible scale and for the purpose of fostering peace and sustainable development.
On November 1, 1994, I had an honor of receiving the Lord Perry Award
for Excellence in Distance Education from the University of the World.
The Award is the most prestigious accolade in the field of distance education.
Lord Perry established Open University in the U.K., which was emulated
in many other countries. A distinguished group of prior recipients includes
Professor Yash Pal of India, a theoretical physicist, former Secretary of
the Department of Science and Technology and Laureate of Marconi International
Fellowship Award; Dr. Arthur C. Clarke, CBE, of the United Kingdom and Sri
Lanka, well known author and the first to suggest the possibility of using
geosynchronous satellites for communications; and His Excellency Jose Chaves,
Ambassador of Colombia to the United Nations. This award gives credibility
to the fledgling academic field of global electronic distance education.
It also encourages our colleagues who are now striving for its spread to
every corner of the world with the use of various telecommunication media
for betterment of mankind and world peace keeping in the 21st century.