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UW–Madison, Madison College launch Global Studies Passport partnership

Understanding different political systems, languages, customs, and cultures is essential for conducting business in today’s society, says Rebecca Waraczynski, who is pursuing an associate’s degree in marketing at Madison Area Technical College (Madison College).

Waraczynski, who studied in Germany through a Madison College program, is seeking to further broaden her understanding of world regions and global systems through a new partnership with the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Starting this spring, the Global Studies Passport Program offers opportunities and incentives for Madison College students to enroll in select international and area studies courses at UW–Madison. These courses are aimed at helping them appreciate how their own futures and the economies and cultures of Wisconsin and the United States intersect with realities of the larger world.

The program is open only to students enrolled in Madison College’s Interdisciplinary Global Studies Certificate program. Course credits earned through the program can be transferred back to Madison College and applied toward associate degrees or certificate requirements.

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Alumni Profile: From UW student to chairman of Central Japan Railway

“Since you never know when your life will end,” Yoshiyuki Kasai says, “it is not meaningful to draw up a whole life plan that assumes you will enjoy a long life.”

Kasai07Instead, Kasai says, “What is important is to hold convictions and try to aim for the summit of a high mountain in the distance. While you are trying to get there, your life will be filled with uncertainties, and what you should be doing is to do your very best, day in and day out.”

Kasai offers this bit of advice in a book he wrote recently to help guide the next generation of leaders. He draws on the experiences of climbing his own mountain.

He began his journey in 1963 when he joined the Japanese National Railways, where he held a variety of positions including corporate planning and labor management.

After the privatization of Japan National Railways in 1987, he became president in 1995 and chairman in 2004 of Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central), the country’s leading high-speed-rail operator. Now he serves as the Chairman Emeritus of JR Central, but his journey to the summit is still en route.

Along the way, his path brought him to the American Midwest, when the Japanese government sent him to UW–Madison to study economics in the late 1960s.

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