New National Chair's Message

18th May 2022

New National Chair's Message

My name is Ryan Keeble, and it's an honour to be stepping into the role of JETAA UK chair this year. I was an ALT in tiny Kagawa-ken for three years from 2010-2013. I now live and work in London, where I have been active in the London chapter for the past 7 years. 

I would first like to extend a massive thanks to Rob and the outgoing committee for the time, effort and enthusiasm they invested into their roles, especially during the turbulence of the past two years. On behalf of myself and the current national committee, I earnestly hope we can match their dedication, and continue to make JETAA a useful, interesting and accessible organisation over the coming year.

In fact, my first month as chair began with an unusual and exciting meeting - with the Japanese Minister for Internal Affairs and Communication, Minister Yasushi Kaneko. Five other JET alumni and I spent an hour talking about ways in which we can strengthen bonds between the UK and Japan, with a particular focus on how we could improve links to, and awareness of, specific regional and prefectural issues and relationships. This is an area of UK-Japan relations in which I think JETAA members are uniquely situated, as many of us return to the UK as unofficial local ambassadors for our adopted towns, cities and prefectures. If you have any events or schemes that link the UK to your Japanese hometown, and you think JETAA could help bolster awareness or support, please don't hesitate to get in touch with your local chapter, or the national committee. 

Looking forward to homegrown events this year, our big, national ‘Natsu Matsuri' is planned to go ahead in August for a second year running. With large, family-friendly events planned in the North West and London, it would be fantastic to see as many alumni as possible attending our summer festival, as well as the numerous regional events that each chapter we will be arranging throughout the year; details of which can be found on the JETAA website.

As ever, I would like to end by encouraging members to seek out their local chapters, and to get in touch with any information, event-suggestions or questions they have about JETAA UK and our activities.

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