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Roundtables

The main academic component of the conference is the "Roundtable". Each Roundtable consists of up to four Japanese delegates and up to four American Delegates, and is led by one to two Executive Committee Roundtable Coordinators. Delegates are a part of a Roundtable the entire Conference that focuses on a specific topic within the context of U.S.-Japan relations.

2022 Roundtables:

Education and Media: How Media Communication Affects Social Learning

As humans, we learn a lot from what we see and hear. Every day, we are affected and influenced by our education and popular culture. With television, movies, the internet, magazines, social media, and more, it’s become nearly impossible for many to avoid what has now become an integral part of society. Our views of the world are constantly changing as we receive new information and hear new opinions, and media only speeds up the process. Media has been both vilified and deified by groups as its role ever-changes and its hold on people grows. In this RT, we aim to look at the effects contemporary media has on today’s society in various facets of the world. How does media affect the developmental education of children or the later learning of adults? How does the music we hear or the books we read change our behavior or identity? More importantly, how does a nation’s media outlets portray history to its citizens? How does it fight against or promote propaganda? We will examine popular culture, history, news, mass media, music, television, and more.

Roundtable Leader: Dylan Cain
Contact Roundtable Leader: jasc74.dcain@gmail.com

Global Governance and National Sovereignty: Understanding IR Through the Lens of International Institutions and Domestic Politics

Why do we see increased Chinese activity in the South China Sea? What were the incentives for the US to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and for China to take a more active role in it? Why does there seem to be a deficiency in international cooperation even in a time of crisis such as COVID-19? These questions can no longer be fully answered by simply conceptualizing the relations between and motivations of states as unitary actors. Rather, in order to consider ways to solve the increasingly complex global problems today, we must understand state behavior as being heavily influenced by both international norms and domestic politics. Therefore, the goal of this Roundtable is to analyze global issues from the perspectives of international institutions and domestic politics, exploring where national interests and the global agenda converge or diverge. We will be discussing a range of issue areas related to the US and Japan, including but not limited to security, global health, climate change, and trade.

Roundtable Leader: Kaede Ishidate
Contact Roundtable Leader: jasc74.kishidate@gmail.com

Taboo: Analyzing the Stigma Surrounding Alcohol, Drugs, Sex, and other Vices

Alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, tattoos, and any other vice you can think of~! It feels so good to be bad! But why is that? And is it actually bad? Why is it bad? When did it become bad? In this roundtable we will be examining the rationale behind the existence of certain taboos. Through exploring different histories of taboos and their variation across cultures, we can understand their governmental, economic, social and political reasons for being classified as taboo. We will also examine the appeals of counter cultures that heavily involve taboos, and analyze the differences in reasoning and response towards privileged and oppressed groups who participate in taboos. The values of a society can be reflected by their taboos and through the enforcement of taboos. We will look at this subject through the lens of human behavior, politics, sociology, policy making, psychology, media, anthropology and history, as well criminology. Come and see what’s behind the curtain.

Roundtable Leader: Lainie Ackatz Young
Contact Roundtable Leader: jasc74.lackatzyoung@gmail.com

Social Justice & Cultural Identity: Peacebuilding in Our Modern World

What motivates someone to become an activist? Where do our notions of morality and cultural values come from? This RT serves to identify how social justice movements originate and how they relate to our cultural identities. Art, religion, history, language, and customs all contribute to the understanding of how our social landscapes can evolve. By identifying their impact, one can begin to see how they shape social justice movements and approaches to peace building. This RT will also explore how these movements begin with the individual and will reflect on how one’s cultural identity shapes their morals, values, and biases. We will also work to identify what causes might motivate one to take social action, such as how art can shift public perception or how language might inform cultural misconceptions and taboos. Through discussing modern movements for indigenous rights, dismantling institutionalized racism, and LGBTQ+ rights and gender equality, we will work to identify how they developed and what we can do towards peace building in the present. Cultures and societies develop over time in order to respond to evolving social climates and issues. This RT asks us to consider how individuals in both the US and Japan can inform themselves on how to positively initiate social justice in our societies to create a more peaceful world.

Roundtable Leader: Eden Davenport
Contact Roundtable Leader: jasc74.edavenport@gmail.com

Business and Social Innovation: Re-envisioning Organizations For Our Well-being

Virtue or vice — what is the role of business for society? Throughout history, multinational corporations have been criticized for building wealth through unethical means. However, in the last ten years, academics such as Michael Porter of Harvard Business School argued that companies can move beyond corporate social responsibility and gain competitive advantage by including social and environmental considerations in their strategies. Today, a growing movement champions the cause for businesses to do more than what is legally required to improve our well-being. Given the numerous cases of human exploitation and environmental destruction, does business only benefit those in power? How can our society explore ways in which the well-being of people and the planet are achieved alongside economic prosperity? This roundtable will grapple with such questions to envision how organizations in the modern era can enact innovative solutions to tackle global and local problems.

Roundtable Leader: Risa Mori
Contact Roundtable Leader: jasc74.rmori@gmail.com

Micro and Macro Predictions of the Future: Utilizing Data and Models

Although we cannot predict the future, we can draw blueprints of where we are heading based on what we have known from the past and the present. How would two individuals with certain labels interact with each other? Where would a nation likely head to, given certain circumstances? There is no oracle machine to tell the future; however, we will build our own future sight with evidence accumulated from the past and the present in this roundtable. This may include analyzing data of our society, creating and utilizing models that predict a general trend, and deriving the proper conclusion from applicable theories. On the other hand, the prediction may also be drawn from the lessons we learned through history and people living in the era instead of the more significant trend. Examples of our discussion range from “how would students from the U.S. and Japan interact and what are actions we can take to manipulate such an interaction” to “when and where will the next technological revolution happen and what role can we play in such an innovation.”This roundtable aims to combine mathematical and computational models, sociological and anthropological theories, and data collected from the real world to answer questions we have about the future.

Roundtable Leader: Ivy Sun
Contact Roundtable Leader: jasc74.isun@gmail.com

Tech Advancements and Heritage: The Global Commons and Preservation in the 21st Century

There are two types of commons, or areas of shared resources within a community. The first is the global commons: Defined as the global ocean, the atmosphere, the polar regions, outer space, and the internet. Areas under no one government's jurisdiction but with a limited amount of resources. How do countries balance their own needs with those of other nations? How do you govern an area owned by no one? Should anyone be allowed to own them, and if so, who? On the other hand, there are commons within a country: water, fishing areas, forests, and even knowledge and cultural commons. This RT will explore how humans interact with both global and national commons and the ways human advancement in technology can help or hinder the preservation of Earth's natural resources and humanity's cultural heritage. This RT does not presume one correct answer or moral standpoint, but encourages delegates to engage in productive discussions about how their needs come into contact with both the needs of others and the greater common good.

Roundtable Leader: Wren Markley
Contact Roundtable Leader: jasc74.jmarkley@gmail.com