Student Wins J.LIVE Bronze Award
Japanese-major Hyung Jin Cho took home the bronze award in the very competitive speech contest J.LIVE, held November 2016 at George Washington University. In January 2016, Cho was selected to participate in the Kakehashi Program, which enabled 11 UMD students to travel to and study Tohoku, the area of Japan devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, as well as Tokyo. Cho’s own identity as a Korean American and his powerful experience meeting students with handicaps in Japan inspired him to write a speech for the J.LIVE contest. He wrote passionately about wanting to teach East Asian history to children. Cho feels strongly that a greater peace in Asia is possible through an honest engagement with not just the pleasant aspects of Asian history but also the disturbing and tension-filled realities of the region’s past. He is inspired by the words and lives of Gandhi and John Lennon. The selection process is especially rigorous, and Cho was one of just nine final contestants chosen to compete. Makiko Inoue, who mentored Cho for this project, said “He crafted the speech using his own words to share his transformation from 'an American student who is a music lover' to 'an enthusiast inspired to promote mutual understanding among East Asian societies by making use of his educational and diverse background.' His powerful voice touched the audience, inspired the educators, and encouraged his peers that education can open a door to immense possibilities and how you utilize it is all in your hands.