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Western Kentucky University

Kentucky Study Abroad Symposium


A registration fee of $25 will be required for non-presenters that wish to attend the Lunch Plenary Session. All other presentations are free and open to the public.

Lunch begins at 1 p.m. and includes 3 guest speakers, Motohiko Kato, David Carpenter, and Michael McClellan. (see info below)

Attendees must pre-register for the lunch and pay online. 

Click here to register.

Motohiko Kato

Motohiko KatoConsul‐General Motohiko Kato arrived in Nashville in October of 2012 by way of Manila, where he most recently served as Deputy Chief of Mission of the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines. A career diplomat, he entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in 1982 after passing Japan's foreign service examination. His three‐decade career has taken him all over the world, including posts in Singapore, Iran, and Paris. Consul‐General Kato has served as director of several MOFA divisions in Tokyo; among them are the Nuclear Energy Division, where he handled nuclear non‐proliferation policy and nuclear safety, and the Second International Organization Division, where he oversaw international business transactions and free trade agreements. He also served as Director of the International Cooperation Division at the National Institute for Research Advancement, a prestigious government think tank.

Consul‐General Kato eagerly anticipated returning to the United States after having several wonderful experiences in this country. As a young diplomat, he studied English at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. In 2004, he became Deputy Chief of Mission at the Japanese Embassy in Afghanistan; for over a year‐and‐a‐half, he worked closely with his American counterparts on various reconstruction efforts for the Afghan people. He was grateful for the support and kindness of his American colleagues, who formed the core of a small but productive international community in that country. In 2007, Consul‐General Kato returned to the States to serve as Head of Chancery at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, DC.

The Consulate‐General of Japan at Nashville covers Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Consul‐General Kato's primary mission is to care for Japanese citizens and their families residing in the Southeast, protect the interests of Japanese companies, and promote Japanese culture and business throughout these five states.

David Carpenter

David CarpenterIn the Fall of 2000, David started working in Guest Relations for
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, Inc. where he managed
Toyota's Visitor Center, which receives around 40,000 visitors from
around the world each year.

Before coming to Toyota, David lived and worked in Japan for 5 years for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He spent 4 years as a faculty member for the Nagasaki In touch Community Center and did public relations work for the Nagasaki Prefecture government and tourism office. His last year in Japan was spent as Assistant Director of the Kobe Friendship House Community Center and worked as a translator in international guest relations for Tokyu Sports Oasis.

David is currently the executive director of the Japan/America Society of Kentucky. The Japan/America Society of Kentucky (JASK), established in 1987, is dedicated to sustaining a favorable business and community relationship between Japan and Kentucky by promoting cooperation and mutual understanding.

To achieve this goal, JASK organizes a variety of business, cultural, educational and social programs, as well as provide relevant information for business, professionals, schools, families and others.

Through these activities, JASK also facilitates social and business networking within the Japan/America community in Kentucky.

Furthermore, JASK recognizes the importance of educating future generation for the betterment of the Japan/America relations.

David received his Bachelor of Science in Human Environmental Sciences from the University of Kentucky in 1995. He is originally from Prestonsburg, Kentucky and currently lives with his spouse in Lexington and is the father of a 7 year old son who attends the Maxwell Spanish Immersion School in downtown Lexington.

Michael McClellan

Michael McClellanMy Role at WKU

Mentor students interested in international careers, especially in government and diplomacy, support their efforts to obtain internships in Washington and abroad with the federal government - especially the Department of State and other foreign affairs agencies - and to be a resource for the university and Kentucky high schools on foreign affairs issues and diplomacy.

Educational Background

I grew up in Bowling Green and Bardstown, attending the University of Louisville where I majored in Political Science and Journalism. Hoping to become an international photojournalist, I obtained my Master's Degree at Syracuse University in Photojournalism with a minor in International Relations, where my interest in diplomacy and the Foreign Service were kindled. I then did doctoral studies at Indiana University in International Communications and Government/Press Relations. Upon completion of my orals, I entered the U.S. Foreign Service working first for the U.S. Information Agency and then with the U.S. Department of State as a Public Diplomacy Officer. During my thirty-year career in the Foreign Service, I served in Yemen, Egypt, Russia, Serbia, Germany, Kosovo, Ireland, Iraq (twice), Ethiopia, and South Sudan. I also served as Diplomat-in-Residence at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and serving universities throughout Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky, and for the Rocky Mountain Region, which included Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico.

Academic Interests

From the beginning of my college studies, I was interested in Journalism and Political Science, especially Russian Studies. As a practitioner of Public Diplomacy, I am especially interested in how governments and organizations influence public opinion through press, cultural, and educational programs. Diplomatic history is also an area of great interest, particularly with how the practice of diplomacy has evolved to meet changing technologies over the past two centuries. Finally, as a small-scale farmer advocating sustainable and organic practices in the production of healthy food, I am interested in promoting such practices overseas as an element of American foreign policy.

What Brought Me to WKU

Having lived and worked overseas for almost all of the past thirty years, I decided it was finally time to "come home." I want to give back to my community and help young people in Kentucky understand better the international world in which we now live and to see how they can better prepare themselves to be part of that. Office of International Programs (OIP) and the Potter College of Arts and Letters provided the ideal opportunity for me to give back to my community and to help young people in Kentucky better realize their potential in today's world.

A Little About Myself

Photography and farming continue to be my strongest passions in life, along with writing and blogging. My career has been the ideal platform for both as the extensive travel it provided me allowed me to live and work overseas for extended periods in countries as diverse as Ireland and South Sudan. I especially love getting to know and understand other cultures and languages and hope that is reflected in the words and images I produce. With my wife, Tate, I have also developed a deep interest in food, nutrition, and how it's produced - hence my becoming a small-scale organic farmer.

2014 Study Abroad Symposium

March 28, 2015

Knicely Conference Center

Bowling Green, KY



December 1, 2014

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 Last Modified 9/19/14