'JET Programme Farewell Reception' , Japan in Melbourne, 2011
JET Programme Farewell Reception
A farewell reception was held in honour of the departure of the participants of the 2011 JET Programme at the Consul-General’s official residence on Thursday 21 July.
The reception was well attended by many supporters of the JET Programme including the Co-Chairs of the Victorian Parliamentary Friends of Japan, Mr Brad Battin MP and Mr Steve Herbet MP; Japanese business leaders and members of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. The reception was also attended by several participants of the Assistants to Teachers of Japanese (ATJ) Programme and many former JET Programme participants.
The Acting Consul-General of Japan, Mr Yasufumi Kotake, wished the participants well over the next twelve months and encouraged them to be actively involved in their local communities and assist in promoting the relationship between Japan and Australia.
Thirty-eight JET Programme participants departed from Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania on Saturday 23 July to commence their 12-month contracts in Japan as Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) or Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs).
Australian Youth Ambassador for Development, Susanne Newton
Anderson, L, 2009, 'Inspiring Samoa's next generation of book lovers', Samoa Observer
Susanne Newton’s love for reading and books was cemented at an early age.
In primary school, she enjoyed visiting her school library and local public library.
Little did she know that this love of books would bring her to Samoa nearly fifteen years later.
Susanne is spending twelve months in Samoa as a library management officer at the National University of Samoa (NUS) library.
After she finished her degree in English Literature from Melbourne University and completed a Masters degree in Business IT that qualified her as a librarian, Susanne worked in a busy public library in Melbourne before volunteering to spend a year working in Samoa under AusAid’s Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development program.
“Since I’ve been in Samoa I’ve been working with the Library Association of Samoa to run Library Week and create a website, helping establish a law collection within the NUS library, coordinating Australian Law Librarian Pacific Twinning activities, educating users and staff in library services, and developing NUS library policies and procedures,” Susanne said.
Library Week was a great success. Pictured are best dressed book character winners Julius Caesar, Harry Potter and Pocahontas.
Susanne is now eight months into her year-long volunteer placement at the NUS library and is having the time of her life.
“I have spent the last four months lecturing students enrolled in the School Library Assistant Training Course coordinated by the USP and MESC. We had 38 students that recently graduated from the course that included theory and practical work experience at school libraries in Upolu and Savaii,” Susanne said.
“I never imagined that I would have the chance to lecture in library studies, so it’s been a wonderful learning opportunity for me, as well as the students. I’ve enjoyed the chance to share my experience and knowledge and inspire people.”
“It’s important we foster an environment which allows students to feel comfortable visiting the library and to access library facilities so they get the full benefit of their education and learning.”
Susanne said the newly trained school library assistants will make a huge difference to school libraries.
“A lot of schools have a reasonable book collection, but they need extra support from a dedicated library worker to look after the collection, catalogue the books, set up a borrowing system, and help students with their studies. These newly trained library assistants will play an important role in developing school libraries and encouraging greater interest in reading within the school communities.”
Susanne said one of her highlights in Samoa has been the success of National Library Week.
“The Week was amazing. We received over 150 entries for the original short story writing competition with the theme of Samoan life, held two bilingual storytelling sessions for children, a literary high tea, and held a street parade with over 500 children dressed up as their favourite book character accompanied by the US Navy Band and the Samoa Police Band. The parade day was scorching hot, so each child received an ice pop. We really hope these activities help inspire the next generation of readers in Samoa.”
Susanne said she hoped that Library Week will be an annual event for all Samoans to look forward to and enjoy.
“The week was such a success that we have continued storytelling sessions at the main library in Apia. The next storytelling session will occur once the American corner opens at the public library in December.”
Directly following the tsunami, Susanne was able to use her information management skills to work with the Samoa Red Cross to help coordinate early assessment of those affected.
“I’m glad I could do something to help. It was amazing to see how quickly the Red Cross and the Samoan community responded to the disaster, distributing supplies and mobilising literally hundreds of volunteers to help out. It’s also good to know that countries such as Australia and New Zealand are there to support Samoa’s recovery process.”
When Susanne is not at the library, you’ll find her enjoying Samoa’s beautiful beaches, at the Hash House Harriers running club, or trying her hand at outrigger canoeing!
Meredith, J 2009, 'Children enjoy Library Week', Newsline Newspaper [Samoa], 12 July, p. 5
Meredith, J 2009, 'Library Week Promotes Traditions and Culture', Newsline Newspaper [Samoa], 8 July, p. ?