Dr. Kawamura of the University of Findlay Strives for Cultural Understanding

. June 2, 2017.
cultural-connections-findlay

(419) 434-4619 or kawamura@findlay.edu.As a boy growing up in Japan, Dr. Hiroaki “Hiro” Kawamura remembers being afraid of an American guest who visited his home. Because of the cultural difference and difference of skin tone, Kawamura recalls being very wary of the visitor. Looking back on the experience, he wishes that he had avoided the fear he so poignantly remembers, and that he had been open to the stranger, encouraging him to share his background.

Taking away fear for future generations

Today, Kawamura is a professor at the University of Findlay as well as a cultural anthropologist who strives to connect people of different cultures. He does this in many ways: as part of the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation’s cross-cultural program, as a strong advocate and collaborator of the Cultural Connections monthly column here in Findlay Area Family and as a professor who is part of the well-known International Night at the university. These programs, and Kawamura’s support of them, span cultures, ages, and races to bring our community closer together.

Building events to build bridges

International Night, an annual event at the University of Findlay, allows Kawamura to highlight the cultural diversity in Findlay. By showing the different, unique parts of Findlay, we begin to realize that we’re a more diverse community than many may think.
“If you look at the world map hung on the wall of Dietsch Brothers on Tiffin Avenue, you will be amazed by the number of countries represented there,” said Kawamura. “Literally, people from all over the world have visited our Dietsch Brothers.”

Cultural-Connections---Dr.-Hiroaki-Kawamura

Dr. Kawamura, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Findlay

Different, but the same

Kawamura especially enjoys his work when young people develop cultural sensitivity. “Our main goal is to lower the level of anxiety when people are exposed to new cultures and diversity,” Kawamura said. “We do this by having face-to-face communication and collaboration to build those relationships.”

When children aren’t afraid to meet people from new places, and when people are willing to admit that they are different but still the same, that is the biggest sign of success, he said.

To learn more about Cultural Connections at the university or how to get involved in culture-building experiences, contact Dr. Kawamura at
(419) 434-4619 or kawamura@findlay.edu.