Greetings to you all.
My name is Linton Rathgen and I am the current President of the Auckland JET Alumni Association for 2011-2013.
I was voted in last February at the AGM and since then have been involved with the JETAA committee in a wide range of activities and events. My first 6 months in the role has been very rewarding and being surrounded by so many talented, wonderful and interesting people has helped me to grow as a person. There are always challenges but it is important to remain positive, learn from your mistakes and move on.
It has been my intention to get a President’s blog going for some time and this is my first post. I want to use this blog as a way to communicate with all the current members of the alumni association and also the wider general public who have an interest in Japan and the JET programme.
It’s almost one year to the day since I returned from Japan on the JET programme and recently I have been in somewhat of a reflective mood thinking about what I am doing, what I am achieving and all the Japanese related things I’m involved with here in Auckland.
Today, along with the wonderful Catherine-san and Maeda-san from the Japanese consulate and our very own University lecturer Corey Wallace, I attended a careers expo at Auckland University hosted by the School of Asian Studies. See the photo below. I helped to promote the JET programme and handed out pens and pamphlets to a lot of young New Zealanders about to embark on a career journey that will in some way or another lead them to Asia. Here are my thoughts for today:
The world is changing and every human in my opinion should have an understanding of current geopolitics, if only a basic grasp of it. Power, wealth and centres of culture that reach out around the world (such as Hollywood) are moving from their traditional Western bases and the rise of Asia will surely define the world over the next two centuries. We are beginning to see this with our multicultural society here in NZ. The government is pursuing Free Trade Agreements with India, Japan and perhaps more importantly the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership. This means more and more people will be on the move, whether coming here to live or us going to Asia. It’s almost imperative that we teach our younger citizens about Asia, its myriad of languages, culture and historical tides that affect 3.9 billion people.
Countries like Japan have always held a certain fascination for us Kiwis, whether it be for historical, cultural, social or sporting reasons. Programmes like JET have really helped to facilitate a strong relationship between the two countries and given many of us an opportunity to live in a country that is so fascinating and incredible.
JETAA has an important role to play in this changing world. We need to continue to promote Japan, its language and culture. In doing so we help to lessen such destablising things like ignorance and fear and we begin to bring people together. It is community that is the most powerful and it is the international community that is most important of all.
Some exciting events are coming up for JETAA and I will post regularly.
Stay tuned and I hope you are staying warm during Winter.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or if you want to get more involved with JETAA and the committee. As I stated before, community is important and helping out as a volunteer for such an important community as ours is a very rewarding way to make a difference.