Substantive discussions on youth engagement at the Fourth World Tsunami Museum Conference 2022
Participants from around the world once again convened during the Fourth World Tsunami Museum Conference (WTMC4) held on 15 December 2022 at the International Research Institute for Disaster Science (IRIDeS) in Tohoku University.
The conference included informative presentations and lively panel discussions following the theme: The Role of Youth and Tsunami Museums for Resilience of Societies.
In his video message, Japan State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. TAKEI Shunsuke, highlighted the importance of youth in making society more resilient stating that, “younger generations will play a key role in making our society more resilient in the future. They are expected to be leading players in building a better society… To this end, it is essential to first raise awareness among the youth in disaster risk reduction.”
Sendai City Mayor, Ms. Kazuko Kohri also emphasized the role of tsunami museums in raising awareness stating that, “Tsunami Museums around the world have a common mission to disseminate our experiences and lessons learned which overcome borders and generations.”
During the keynote session, Dr. Fumihiko shared the technological innovations that IRIDeS has been able to produce to better understand tsunamis as well as the 3.11 Densho Road to improve awareness of disaster prevention and promote communication among communities.
Representatives from five tsunami museums and other disaster related facilities from Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, and USA presented their activities in continuing to disseminate information about tsunamis and engaging youth for building resilience to disasters.
Youth from China, Japan, Indonesia, and USA also shared their experience with tsunami museums and disaster related facilities providing recommendations to museum representatives on how their facilities can be more interactive for the youth including using social media, anime and other mediums that could attract younger generations.
At the closing session of the conference, Dr. Yuichi Ono who served as the overall moderator for this conference summarized the discussions and identified several key takeaways from the conference including:
- Continued role and significance of tsunami museums and other disaster-related museums in raising awareness and sharing memories and lessons learned from past disasters to the general public
- Museums and experts should not only share what they know about disasters, including tsunamis, but also the uncertainties and gaps of information about disasters still unknown today to better prepare society
- Museums can contribute to building a culture of disaster resilience though various activities with youth depending on the age range
- Young people can be catalysts for change, actively engaging with older generations within their communities and exchanging knowledge and ideas in order to create a safer environment for everyone
The WTMC4 concluded by emphasizing the importance of enhancing a soft network among disaster-related museums being fostered by the series of World Tsunami Museum Conferences.
Building on the three previous World Tsunami Museum Conferences, WTMC4 was co-organized by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), IRIDeS of Tohoku University, and the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.