Ambassador Jean-Antoine Diouf and TUJ Dean Matthew Wilson shake hands during a lecture on April 12, 2024

Senegalese Ambassador to Japan, Jean-Antoine Diouf, visited Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ) on April 12, 2024, delivering a lecture on the culture and social cohesion of the African nation to students, faculty and staff. The lecture, part of Dr. Singh Faye’s Bilingual Communities course, provided an enriching opportunity for the audience to explore a variety of topics during the lecture and the subsequent question-and-answer session.

The lecture started with the welcome address from TUJ Dean Matthew Wilson, who highlighted Temple University founder Russell Conwell, presenting Conwell’s book “Acres of Diamond” as a token of appreciation.

Throughout the lecture, titled “Culture in Senegal as a Factor of Social Cohesion and Openness to the World,” Ambassador Diouf explored into themes such as history, politics and global influences of Senegalese culture and art. He also offered insightful observations on the country’s diverse society, emphasizing how various ethnic groups and religious backgrounds coexist in harmony, fostering mutual respect.

Ambassador Diouf’s presentation captivated the audience, prompting numerous questions during the question-and-answer session, which lasted for more than 40 minutes after the lecture. Students posed questions ranging from Senegal’s President Bassirou Diomaye Faye to diplomatic and economic relations with Japan, as well as historical relations with France its former colonial power which is now a close partner.

In responding to a student’s query regarding the factors contributing to Senegal’s peacefulness, Ambassador Diouf attributed it not only to the permanent dialogue between religions and ethnic groups including through joking fraternity, but also to the nation’s educational system, in which the community is involved. He reminisced about his childhood experiences, highlighting the classical educational approach in his village, where their entire community played a role in sharpening youth minds. “If I did something wrong in the village, somebody could correct me and bring me to my parents,” the ambassador said. “So, everybody contributed to the education, fostering discipline and cohesion.”

TUJ regularly invites distinguished government officials and foreign diplomats, providing students with valuable opportunities to engage with prominent figures. Recent notable speakers include Noriyuki Shikata of the Cabinet Secretary for Public Affairs in the Prime Minister’s Office of Japan (September 2023), U.S. Deputy Commerce Secretary Don Graves (September 2023), U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel (February 2023), India Ambassador to Japan Sanjay Kumar Varma (October 2022), Charge d’affaires of Lithuanian Embassy Argimantas Misevicius (March 2022), and Ukrainian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Sergiy Korsunsky (February 2022). Taro Kono, a member of the House of Representatives (currently serving as the Minister for Digital Transformation), delivered the keynote speech at the commencement ceremony in May 2022.

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