Fostering cross-cultural relations in Japan

Three students who have been awarded scholarships for studying Arabic culture and language at Kanagawa Prefectural Yokohama Senior High School of International Studies pose with Aramco Asia-Japan representative Mohammed Al Humaidi, deputy managing director of the Strategic Procurement and Logistics Department (seated right), and school teachers at a recent scholarship ceremony. The school, located in Yokohama, west of Tokyo, is the first public high school in Japan to offer Arabic language courses.

Aramco Asia Japan (AAJ) continues support the Kanagawa Prefectural Yokohama Senior High School of International Studies (YIS) in its efforts to promote Arabic language courses in their curriculum. In its efforts to promote cross-cultural learning, Arabic language courses are offered as part of the YIS curriculum –  a venture supported by AAJ.

The mission is closely aligned with Saudi Aramco's Corporate Social Responsibility program. Located in the city of Yokohama, west of Tokyo, the school is the first public high school that offers Arabic language courses in Japan.

A symbol of friendship

The initiative commenced in 2010, with AAJ contributing to the renovation of classrooms and upgrade of the audio-visual equipment at YIS. In particular, the “Saudi Aramco YIS Friendship Hall,” where traditional Arabic artwork gifted by Saudi Aramco is on display, is seen as a symbol of friendship between the two countries.

A scholarship program established by YIS selects three students each year, in order to encourage and promote further study in Arabic language and culture. The scholarship program will continue up to 2023.

Developing interest in Arabic culture

A total of 18 students have been awarded the scholarship and developed a strong interest in the Arabic culture since the launch of the program in 2010. A 2015 scholarship recipient who has studied the Arabic language for three years said: “It is truly a blessing to have received the scholarship from Aramco Asia Japan. It also helped motivate me to pursue my career goal as a diplomat, making a contribution towards achieving a deeper relationship between Japan and the Middle East region.”

Riding on the success of its initial support program, AAJ has recently entered the second phase of its support, including the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding.

As the name “international” implies, YIS emphasizes a “global perception” of its students as a requirement of the program. Students learn two foreign languages — including the mandatory English language.

Three students each year may seem marginal, but every year, the students leave YIS with the enthusiasm and drive to learn more.