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A group of people sit or stand around a picnic table in a courtyard.

A delegation of students and faculty from FTCC and FSU will visit Japan in May 2024 as part of a prestigious grant-funded cultural exchange program. [Photo by Brad Losh]

Fayetteville Technical Community College is proud to announce that its Arts & Humanities program has received a competitive $42,000 Virtual Exchange + Mobility Grant from the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON).

This prestigious grant, awarded by the binational advisory panel to the U.S. and Japanese governments, aims to bolster the relationship between the two nations.

The grant facilitates a dual initiative — a Collaborative Online International Learning project and real exchanges between students and faculty at FTCC and Setsunan University in Osaka, Japan.

Later this month, FTCC’s Dean of Arts & Humanities Dr. Kenjuana McCray, along with history instructor Dr. Melinda Pash and Fayetteville State professor Dr. Sidney Pash, will lead a diverse delegation comprising seven FTCC students, one Cumberland County high school student, and a FTCC psychology instructor Tomecia Sobers on a transformative two-week educational journey through Japan.

Serving as cultural ambassadors for both FTCC and the United States, the delegation will enjoy hospitality in the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, attend a reception for Opal Lee, known as the grandmother of Juneteenth, at Ambassador Rahm Emanuel’s residence and engage in exchange activities with Kyoritsu University and Setsunan University.

The itinerary includes visits to iconic locations such as Kamakura, Kyoto, and Nara, as well as immersive experiences like studying Japanese brush art with renowned artist Takehiko Yanaka and attending a Yomiuri Giants-Chunichi Dragons baseball game with esteemed baseball historian Yoichi Nagata.

McCray expressed enthusiasm for the opportunity, stating, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our students, many of whom have never ventured beyond the American South, let alone abroad. Not only will they encounter new cultures and perspectives, but they will also gain invaluable insights into the myriad opportunities awaiting them post-graduation.”

In the second part of the program, FTCC will host students from Setsunan University next fall, fostering a reciprocal cultural exchange and enriching educational experiences.