Concluding Impressions and Final Experiences as a Harvard Visiting Fellow within the Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences – Department of Government

by Kim Schumacher
(The University of Tokyo, Ph.D. ’17, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Program on Environmental Sciences)

Harvard Chapel, Main Campus

Building upon my experiences described in the November 2016 interim report, this report will provide insights a summary of both the results as well as the final impressions from this overall invaluable stay as a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University during the Fall 2016 term.

Harvard Law Library

My work in the beginning of my stay being mostly characterized by attempting to navigate through the sea of opportunities offered by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the university as a whole, be that in the form of library resources, seminars, courses or lecture series; the second half of my stay involved more of the traditional elements of Ph.D. candidates, notably putting the final touches on my dissertation and refining the determining data elements of a prospective journal publication, which represented at the same time a constituent chapter of my dissertation.

Picture with Xiao-Li Meng, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

All in all, I have to say that the combination of world class research environments and almost infinite networking opportunities are among the many reasons why this research stay turned out to be much more meaningful than I could have initially anticipated. Having had the pleasure to interact with some of the world’s foremost experts on U.S.-Japan relations and foreign policy, including environmental and energy issues, added crucial details and insights to my qualitative data analyses.

Weatherhead Center for International Affairs

Therefore, I would like to highlight the faculty members and colleagues at both the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and the Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies, whose feedback allowed me to not only revise and improve some passages of my dissertation, thus contributing to the overall satisfying outcome of my Visiting Fellow stay, but also gain new historic insights between both nations.
Moreover, I would like to outline the immensely helpful advice from my Harvard faculty sponsor Prof. Susan J. Pharr, who introduced me to one of her former Ph.D. students, Prof. Daniel P. Aldrich of Northeastern University, an expert on U.S.-Japan energy-related civil society conflicts and participatory governance. Prof. Aldrich, besides providing additional literature references in consideration of my dissertation, also agreed to participate on a potential future postdoctoral collaboration, thus rendering my stay at Harvard even more meaningful from both research as well as career perspectives.

Harvard Annenberg Hall

My workspace at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies

In terms of eventual research dissemination and public outreach of the data parts acquired during my Visiting Fellow stay, my dissertation titled “Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations and Renewable Energy Development in OECD Member Countries: Comparative Analysis of Procedural Frameworks in Japan, New Zealand, the European Union and the United States” will be publicly available on the University of Tokyo repository by the end of April 2017.

With colleagues visiting a Maine lighthouse during a weekend excursion

In conclusion, my stay in Cambridge, MA has been highly impactful, on a personal level, having met some amazing people and made some new long-term friends in addition to having been able to explore the New England region a little bit. However most importantly, it improved my research as well as my general career outlook, reinforcing the historic ties between the University of Tokyo and Harvard. In light of all of these experiences, I hereby would like seize the opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to the Ito-Foundation U.S.A-FUTI for having provided substantial financial support, rendering this research stay possible, which would have otherwise been out of reach.
My sincerest regards and utmost appreciation,
Kim Schumacher
The University of Tokyo, Ph.D. ‘17