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UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023
15/12/2023


UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023


This year, the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge returned for its ninth iteration and we were proud to support the programme once again.


For the first time since 2019, the programme was able to take place in person. 49 pre-university students from Japan came to England to meet 27 students from around the UK for this week-long prestigious summer school.


On the first day of the programme, the students gathered at Rikkyo School in Surrey, England. The 76 student participants introduced themselves to one another through group presentations, learning about each others’ school programme in Japan as well as their extensive hobbies and interests.


They then enjoyed a relaxed start to the week with fun ice breaking activities and a typical British experience of a barbecue on a rainy summer’s day.


After the welcome day, the students enjoyed a varied and interesting programme, including visits to Cambridge University, UCL and Camden Town Hall. They experienced university-style lectures and talks spanning multiple disciplines, all around the theme of ‘Resilience’!


At Cambridge University, the students had a real university experience, staying for two nights in Robinson College. The programme included sightseeing and punting, as well as university-style lectures.


Sir Laurie Bristow KCMG, president of Hughes Hall Cambridge, described the resilience needed during his work as the Ambassador to Afghanistan during the fall of the Taliban in 2021, which gave the participants much food for thought.


They then heard from academics about how soft materials could be used in robotics, air pollution toxicology, and more fascinating talks.



Students listen to a lecture on air pollution in Robinson College, Cambridge.


After an illuminating programme in Cambridge, the students travelled down to London for a few days at University College London (UCL). At UCL, they again experienced lectures from experts and academics, including a visit to Camden Town Hall to meet the Mayor of Camden Town.


Teamwork was also key, as the students were split into groups during workshop sessions, to discuss and prepare their presentations for this year’s theme of ‘Resilience’, as part of the UCL Grand Challenge. With the help of experienced workshop leaders, all participants participated in engaging and inspiring discussions about what ‘Resilience’ could mean, and how the world could be more resilient.



Students exploring ideas of resilience during a workshop in UCL.


The students presented their ideas during the UCL Grand Challenge Symposium, which took place in a large lecture theatre in UCL, to members of the public. The presentations were made in English, with each student able to present their own ideas. It was so inspirational to hear what solutions pre-university age students had for issues in the world.


Topics included: diversity in the workplace, artificial intelligence, cultural understanding, and environmental issues. It was fascinating to hear the speeches made by our Japanese and UK student participants. They compared their experiences from the perspective of both countries, and lots of interesting ideas were shared.


We are already looking forward to next year’s UCL-Japan Youth Challenge and hope that many new students will join us.


To find out more about this year’s programme and keep up to date with information about future programmes, visit the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge official website at: https://www.ucl-japan-youth-challenge.com/programme-2023/



illustrated by Scriberia