York Professor Norio Ota, coordinator of Japanese Studies and Korean Studies, Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, was awarded the title “Profesor Invitado” at an open public induction ceremony with an official letter and a certificate from the Rector of the University of Havana recently. At the ceremony one of the associate deans of the Faculty of Foreign Languages (FLEX) at the University of Havana read out the Rector’s letter, and Gilberto Díaz-Santos, the faculty dean, spoke of Ota’s work and presented the certificate.
Professor Norio Ota
Ota read his acceptance speech in Spanish, which had been prepared by his colleague in DLLL, York Professor Pastor Valle-Garay. Ota has been invited to the University of Havana to offer seminars and workshops on teaching and learning foreign languages with technology since 2004. Recently he has been focusing on the Japanese Program at FLEX. Last year the board of directors of the University of Havana voted unanimously to concur on Ota the special title of Invited Professor for his contributions to the university.
From left to right, Mercedes Vázquez, Mayelín González, vice-deans at FLEX, Professor Norio Ota and Gilberto Díaz-Santos, dean of FLEX
“Professor Norio Ota from the Japanese and Korean studies Program at York University, Canada, has been awarded the special category of Invited Professor by the University of Havana (UH), Cuba. This category is given to non-UH staff who have demonstrated sustained teaching excellence both in their home institutions and in collaboration with the University of Havana,” said Díaz-Santos in his remarks during the presentation. He praised Ota´s personal involvement in arranging for and taking computer equipment and peripherals donated by York University to FLEX-UH.
The certificate of “Invited Professor” awarded to Ota
So far five laptops have been donated by York University to the University of Havana. All of the laptops have been kept in a good condition and are used by faculty and students. York’s Japanese Section donated a brand-new laser printer with an extra cartridge.
Ota considers this award as a great honour and unexpected recognition of his volunteer work. He calls his work as “technical cooperation across the border” and intends to continue to assist Cuban colleagues as long as they require his service. He is confident that what he has been teaching will be instantly usable whenever the Internet connection becomes freely available in Cuba.