Participants in a program organized by College of the Atlantic that brings students from around the world to the small island of Ōsakikamijima in the Seto Inland Sea in Japan. Some of the group will speak Nov. 19 at the college's Human Ecology Forum. PHOTOS COURTESY OF COA

CANCELLED: Human ecology on Japanese island

Update 11/14: This Human Ecology Forum event has been cancelled.

BAR HARBOR — Participants in the College of the Atlantic Human Ecology Lab and Island Odyssey program (HELIO) in Ōsakikamijima, Japan will join the COA Human Ecology Forum on Tuesday, Nov. 19 to speak about the impact of the program on both COA and Japanese higher education.

The free event, which begins at 4:10 p.m. in McCormick Lecture Hall, is the last Human Ecology Forum of the fall 2019 term.

In 2014, a group of Japanese academics reached out to College of the Atlantic as part of an effort to fundamentally redesign Japanese higher education to make it more interactive and interdisciplinary, combining theory and practice more fully.

The view from Ōsakikamijima, an island that has many things in common with Mount Desert Island. PHOTOS COURTESY OF COA

The HELIO program was launched as a proof of concept in 2016, bringing students from around the world to the small island of Ōsakikamijima in the Seto Inland Sea.

Based on the success of this initial program, the HELIO program has run for four consecutive years. Students, faculty and administrators from more than a dozen colleges and universities have participated in the HELIO program, leaving some valuable lessons to guide future collaborations. With a new institution preparing to launch, HELIO has served its purpose.

“We’ll discuss those lessons as well as the roots of the program — growing from the Fukushima nuclear disaster — as well as its achievements, remarkable similarities to COA and Mount Desert Island, challenges and future evolution,” said COA provost Ken Hill.

The forum will be led by Hill and professors Jay Friedlander and Jodi Baker, who have been involved in the program. Contact 288-5015.

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