Montgomery Dickson Center
for Japanese Language & Culture

The mission of the Montgomery Dickson Center is to expand the instruction, appreciation, and enjoyment of Japanese language and culture, engage in public outreach, enhance existing and future international exchange activities with Japan, and serve the University of Alaska and the State of Alaska as a resource with respect to Japanese bilateral relations and understanding.

The Center's three main objectives are: 

  1. to encourage, complement, and expand Japanese Language instruction within UAA and throughout the State of Alaska,
  2. to provide opportunities for Alaskans to experience, appreciate, understand, and enjoy high-quality, significant, and culturally meaningful Japanese programs and events, and
  3. to serve as a locus within the university for facilitating student and faculty exchanges, programmatic collaborations, and enhanced cooperation between Alaska and Japan.

Background

The Montgomery Dickson Center for Japanese Language and Culture was established to commemorate Montgomery "Monty" Dickson, who perished in the March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. After graduating from UAA in May 2009 with a B.A. in Japanese, Monty participated in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program and taught English in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture, Japan. Monty cherished Japanese culture, and it was his dream to be a bridge over the Pacific Ocean to connect his homeland and Japan. On the morning of March 11, Monty translated words by an internationally known Japanese author, Ryotaro Shiba, into English, "There's nothing as beautiful as dedicating one's life for a cause."

Formation

In the fall of 2011, the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership announced the launch of the JET Memorial Project to commemorate Alaskan JET Program participant Montgomery Dickson, who graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage and taught elementary and junior high school English in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture, Japan. He lost his life during the Great East Japan Earthquake. CGP will support various activities at Monty's alma mater, the University of Alaska Anchorage, for 5 years with the intent to enhance future generation’s understanding of Japan.

About

The Dickson Center is located within the College of Arts and Sciences at UAA. Management of the Center is run by a director and coordinator position, advised by a community advisory board, and assisted by a steering committee comprised of UAA and public members including:

Ian Dutton, Vice President, Rasmuson Foundation
Sarah Leonard, President & COO, Alaska Travel Industry Association
Brandon Locke, Director, World Languages, Anchorage School District
Tim Rockwell, Executive Director and Co-Director, Miss AK Scholarship Foundation
Alex Salov, Business Operations Manager, World Trade Center Alaska
Katsuya Tanaka, Vice President, Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo LLC
Alexa Tonkovich, Asia & Emerging Markets Manager, AK Seafood Marketing Institute
Greg Wolf, Executive Director, World Trade Center Alaska