Online workshop on "Think Tank-University Social Responsibility and Blue Impact"

Maritime countries in Asia and the Pacific, including Japan, are confronted with multifaceted challenges such as sustainable fisheries, regional development, leisure, and cultural development. Addressing these challenges comprehensively and effectively demands evidence-based policy recommendations and their successful implementation, which necessitates robust collaboration among industry, academia, and government. Against this backdrop, the Ocean Policy Research Institute (OPRI) of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and the Taiwan-Japan Alliance of Local Revitalization and Social Practice (TJ Alliance) jointly hosted an online workshop on "Think Tank-University Social Responsibility and Blue Impact" on January 16-17, 2023. During the event, faculty members from 14 universities presented the results of their ocean-link projects, engaging in dynamic discussions.


In opening remarks, Professor Oliver Y. L. Su, the Principal Manager of the University Social Responsibility Project, expressed his gratitude for the joint workshop initiation by OPRI, highlighting the potential for this platform to bolster collaboration between think tanks and universities in the alliance. OPRI Research Director Tomonari Akamatsu commended the workshop's comprehensive coverage of various aspects of marine life, including fishery villages, culture, education, and regional vitalization policy. In addition, he emphasized the need to strengthen the assessment for ocean-link projects in support of blue impact finance advocacy.

The workshop revolved around four main themes: "Social practice assessment on fishery villages," "Regional vitalization policy evaluation," "Assessment on cultural and educational practice," and "Impact assessment on ocean industry clusters." OPRI Research Fellow Dr. Sachiko Oguma presented an analysis of a survey conducted in 963 pioneer schools, highlighting the challenges of ocean education in Japanese schools, such as the continuation of collaboration between schools and local communities and the lack of specialized knowledge among teachers. Prof Cheng-Chieh Chang, director of the Taiwan Ocean Education Center, emphasized the importance of awareness of the ocean, stating that even small changes in the ocean can affect everyone's life, regardless of how close they are to the sea.

In concluding remarks, Dong-Sing Wu, President of the National Chi Nan University and the Chair of TJ Alliance, expressed his gratitude to all the presenters and the secretariat for organizing this workshop, which provided valuable insights into local bottom-up solutions. OPRI Senior Research Fellow, Michael C. Huang, the Project Manager, added that the methodology and approaches of the presented case studies in the workshop will become an essential academic reference for future blue impact finance platforms and enable a wider sharing of knowledge.