May 18, 2021/ 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Japan and COVID-19

First Event in the Global Japan Forum - Japan | 2011, 2021, 2031

Two of the world's foremost scholars of global crises and viral pandemics discuss Japan's response to COVID-19.

 In this event, Japan and COVID-19, two of the world’s foremost scholars in global crises and viral pandemics will discuss the response to COVID-19 at the global and national level. Professor Jared Diamond, a Pulitzer-prize-winning author and professor at UCLA, and Hitoshi Oshitani, a professor in Virology at Tohoku University, will share their thoughts on the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis and both the successes and failures of Japan’s short-term and long-term responses to the pandemic. This will be an open, largely unstructured discussion in which Professor Diamond and Professor Oshitani will pull from their individual experiences and fields of study to share insights on how the COVID-19 crisis will shape the global future and how Japan’s unique situation and response can serve as a case study for the rest of the world.

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Professor Jared Diamond, UCLA Department of Geography

Jared Diamond is a Pulitzer-prize-winning author of five best-selling books, translated into 38 languages, about human societies and human evolution: Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, Why Is Sex Fun?, The Third Chimpanzee, and The World until Yesterday. As a professor of geography at UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles), he is known for his breadth of interests, which involves conducting research and teaching in three other fields: the biology of New Guinea birds, digestive physiology, and conservation biology. His prizes and honors include the U.S. National Medal of Science, the Pulitzer Prize for Non-fiction, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Science, and election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is a director of World Wildlife Fund/U.S. and of Conservation International. As a biological explorer, his most widely publicized finding was his rediscovery, at the top of New Guinea’s remote Foja Mountains, of the long-lost Golden-fronted Bowerbird, previously known only from four specimens found in a Paris feather shop in 1895.

Professor Hitoshi Oshitani, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Virology

Prof. Oshitani is a professor for Department of Virology of Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine. Before joining Tohoku University, he was a regional advisor of the World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) in Manila, the Philippines from 1999 to 2005, where he was responsible for emerging diseases including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and avian and pandemic influenza. He has also worked as a technical expert for Japan International Cooperation (JICA) in Zambia from 1991-1994. His main research interest is epidemiology and control of viral infections, particularly respiratory viruses such as influenza and respiratory syncytial viruses. His research group is conducting infectious disease research in not only Japan but also other countries such as the Philippines, Mongolia and Zambia. He is also a member of the advisory committee on COVID-19 response in Japan.


Cindy Fan, Professor and Vice Provost for International Studies and Global Engagement

Cindy Fan is UCLA’s Vice Provost for International Studies and Global Engagement, and is the first woman and Asian American to hold that position.  She is also Professor of Geography, and formerly Associate Dean of Social Sciences and Chair of the Asian American Studies Department. As senior international officer (SIO), she manages UCLA’s international partnerships and agreements, represents UCLA globally, and oversees the 27 interdisciplinary research centers and eight degree programs within the International Institute.

Dr. Fan received her PhD from the Ohio State University and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Bristol.  She has numerous publications on migration, regional development and gender in China, including the pioneering book China on the Move.  Dr. Fan has delivered keynotes in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa, and has received the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, Distinguished Scholar Awards from the American Association of Geographers, an American Council on Education Fellowship, and grants from the Mellon Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation and National Science Foundation.


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