A Lasting Impact

A Lasting Impact

"I was greatly struck by the amount of respect and affection the community had for Monty and what a great teacher and community member he was. It made me realize how important one individual can be towards grassroots internationalization between our countries of Japan and America." - Steven Wilson, Former Coordinator for the Monty Dickson Center

Learn More about Monty Dickson

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.



The Japan Center was established to commemorate Montgomery “Monty” Dickson who perished in the March 11, 2011 Tōhoku
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, Ryōtarō Shiba, into English, “There’s nothing as beautiful
as dedicating one’s life for a cause


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 and UAA graduate Montgomery Dickson. The CGP committed to support various activities related to Japan-related studies at UAA for five years with the intent to enhance future generation’s understanding of Japan. In 2016, with a generous grant from Rasmuson Foundation, the Japan Center Tea Room in memory of Montgomery Dickson was created.


tea roomThe Japan Center is housed within the College of Arts and Sciences at UAA and includes a traditional demonstration Tea Room, located in the Social Sciences Building. Management of the Center is run by a director and is advised and assisted by a community advisory board comprised of UAA and public members including:

  • Ian Dutton, Principal, Nautilus Impact Investing LLC
  • Director of Marketing & Travel Trade Relations
  • 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
  • Alexa Tonkovich, Asia & Emerging Markets Manager, AK Seafood Marketing Institute
  • Greg Wolf, Executive Director, World Trade Center Alaska 


Make a gift to help the Montgomery Dickson Center continue providing unique cultural programming and learning opportunities to Alaskans.
Click on "Donate to the Monty Dickson Center" below.

Upcoming Events

Spring 2017 Japanese Tea Room Events

  • Spring Tea Ceremony - Thursday, April 13th from 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
    Fee: $10 public, $5 students/members
  • Ikebana (Flower Arrangement) 101 - Saturday, April 22nd from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    Fee: $20 public, $10 students/members

Capacity: 15
Reservations: RSVP to Hiroko Harada, Director of the Japan Center at hharada@alaska.edu 

  • Co-hosted events with Japan Alaska Association (JAA)
    Kotatsu Series: Sundays, February 26th, March 26th, and April 23rd from 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
    Community discussions to honor, preserve, and reflect on our unique Japanese community.
    RSVP to Erika Ninoyu, JAA President at saikoro3@yahoo.com 

The Japanese Tea Ceremony

"Monty particularly cherished the Japanese Tea Ceremony. The Center's Japanese Tea Room helps to explore the profound depth and beauty of tea ceremony, to make it more accessible to a greater number of people, and to serve as a special tribute to Monty's spirit."

Learn More About the Japanese Tea Ceremony
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