Orizuru Project is a great example of connecting Armenian and Japanese cultures over the UWC mission of promoting peace in the world. A group of our first year students from Japan during their project week taught origami to local Armenians. They made paper cranes together with locals in Vernissage, Yerevan. They also visited Global Bridge Educational Center and Ayb School where they did origami workshops, presented the Japanese culture and the story of Sadako Sasaki - a victim of the nuclear bomb, who established the crane-making tradition. The ancient Japanese legend says that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will have their dream come true.
“We heard that Armenia was the first country which sent 1000 of paper cranes to Hiroshima and got an idea of our project from it. We are trying to make 1000 of paper cranes collaborating with schools and local people in Yerevan, and send them to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Our goal is to deepen the relationship between Armenia and Japan, and to tell the story of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki through the Japanese culture "origami"”, says Shusaku (Japan) UWCD’20.
Two months after the completion of their Project Week, on the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 6), our Japanese students visited Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to donate the one thousand origami paper cranes (called Senbazuru in Japanese) that they made during their UWCD Project Week in May. They represented the people who participated in the project including local Armenians and UWCD international students who helped them fold the cranes in the memory of the victims. The cranes were donated with a message and an autograph of Armenian ambassador to Japan, H.E. Mr. Grant R. Pogosyan.
"This Senbazuru symbolizes our wish to have the eternal world peace", they say.
This is how UWC mission of making education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future works in practice.
Project weeks are an important part of UWC experiential learning - the students design and implement intensive projects in different parts of Armenia. This allows them to better understand the country, and to develop their leadership and organizational skills.