|Ambassador Orita presents Professor Ewart with his Commendation
Professor Ewart, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to be with you all this evening to pay tribute to Professor Wallace Ewart's invaluable contribution to the ties between Japan and Northern Ireland, particularly at the grass roots level, over more than 20 years.
Professor Ewart's active involvement with Japan goes back to 1980 when, in his role with the Industrial Development Board, he enthusiastically promoted Northern Ireland as an investment location for Japanese companies. His efforts were clearly worthwhile, in view of the region's subsequent success in attracting inward investment from Japan. More recently, Professor Ewart has played a prominent role with Invest Northern Ireland, which continues to place importance on the region's business links with Japan and maintains an office in Tokyo.
As Dean of Business and Management at Ulster University, Professor Ewart oversaw the establishment of solid links in higher education between Japan and Northern Ireland. In 1984 the Faculty launched an International MBA, which attracted a number of students from Japan. Four years later, he introduced a BA in Japanese Business Studies course, which enabled students to spend a year in Japan.
Professor Ewart's involvement in the Japan Festival 1991 was particularly significant. The Festival offered the valuable opportunity to boost the scale and scope of Japanese Studies in the region following the launch of the Japanese Language Programme the previous year. As a member of the Japan Festival Committee, Professor Ewart was given the task of raising the ￡�00,000 or so needed to support the Northern Ireland programme, which he performed with great success. The Committee organised not only events which contributed immediately to the Festival, such as the acclaimed exhibition ��פontemporary Calligraphy of Japan�ߡ� but also educational projects with a longer-term focus.
As Chairman of the Education Sub Committee, Professor Ewart initiated and conducted innovative exchange projects between Northern Irish and Japanese high schools via the internet, which are still being pursued to this day. The sophisticated means of communication enjoyed by the participating schools today can be traced back to the Japan-Northern Ireland Electronic Mail Link, launched on 23 September 1991 by His Imperial Highness, the Crown Prince of Japan. This was the first time that such a form of communication had been attempted on a large scale between schools in Japan and the United Kingdom. The profound significance of this project was recognised in June 1994 when it received the prestigious Japan Festival Award for Education, for �ߡ�outstanding achievements in furthering the understanding of Japanese culture in the United Kingdom�ߡ�
Professor Ewart's contribution to the resounding success of Japan 2001 is another notable achievement. As regional co-ordinator of Northern Ireland, he worked tirelessly to raise the necessary funds for the programme of events in the region, and it is largely thanks to his endeavours that everything went so smoothly.
It is no exaggeration to say that the tremendous progress evident in the development of cordial and growing ties between Japan and Northern Ireland could not have been achieved without Professor Ewart's priceless contribution. In recognition of everything he has done to this end, it gives me great pleasure to present him with the Ambassador's Commendation.