On August 14th 2021, an online party was held in celebration of The Dialogues, the short-visit, short-stay programs within the College of Economics. This party is now an annual event, and allows graduates to re-unite with former cohort members, and allows current students to meet their seniors and get advice on how to make the Dialogue successful, and to do some networking with a view to future employment. With the corona pandemic severely restricting study abroad programs, this year Asia Dialogue is running with a partner university in Vietnam, with the Dialogue sessions taking place online. The eight Economics students in the Asia Dialogue cohort took part in the party along with 36 graduates. The YNU students gave a short presentation to their seniors outlining this year's topic, 'The Economic and Social Impact of Covid-19.'
As well as the many graduates from the last 15 years of Dialogues, Professor Craig Parsons and Professor Alexander McAulay took part, as the two faculty members running this year's Dialogue. Associate Professor Xinyuan Zhang and former faculty member Profesor Jun Kajima were also in attendance, and could meet up with the many students they have guided on Asia Dialogue over the years.
Graduates from companies such as Asahi Kasei, Rakuten, JAL, Mercedes Benz, Accenture, and Amazon, were able to give the current students tips on the best ways to go about seeking employment. The current Asia Dialogue cohort asked lots of questions and were grateful to have the opportunity to hear about the experiences of their seniors in the workplace.
The online environment was at first unusual after many years of face-to-face reunion parties, but people did not let the restrictions interfere with their enjoyment. The Zoom session was planned for one hour, but went on for more than three hours as people relaxed and enjoyed the pleasant exchanges.
College of Economics runs three Dialogue programs. Euro-Japan Dialogue, dating from 2006, visits two European universities every autumn. Over the 15-year lifetime of the program, over 150 YNU students have visited universities in 19 European countries, for discussion and debate on such topics topics as Immigration, Inequality, the Eurozone crisis, and Women's Issues. The Asia Dialogue program, founded in 2010, is a sister program focussing on Asian universities, and has featured themes such as The Modern City, and Promoting Sustainable Tourism. Global Applied Economics Forum started in 2013, and allows students with advanced English and academic presentation skills to build on previous international experience by carrying out projects in various international locations. To date, the program has visited Thailand, Australia, Sweden, USA and Poland.
Each year, the reunion party shows the loyalty of the graduates to the Dialogues and their willingness to support their juniors, a testament to the life-changing effects of the study abroad programs. Even during this temporary shift online, the Dialogues continue to allow students to take part in authentic international academic exchange and grow as global citizens.