News from Asia and the Pacific

More than 200 Festival-goers Enjoy IMF Games at One World Festival in Osaka

February 2, 2020, Osaka, Japan – From children to the retired, more than 200 people have learnt about the IMF through interactive games at the One World Festival in Osaka, one of the largest international cooperation fairs in Western Japan, where about 100 entities from civil society, governments and international organizations showcased their work for two days from February 1.

The IMF Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (OAP) participated in the festival for the first time in a decade, in an effort to reach out to the general public and to raise their understanding of the IMF’s mission and work. OAP set up a booth along with the World Bank group (WB) in the Kita Kumin Center for two days and jointly held a career talk event at the stage in the Kansai TV building on Day 1.

At the IMF booth, two staff welcomed festival-goers from morning to evening and handed out promotional postcards, flyers and information sheets to about 250 people. Among them around 200 people played an IMF quiz to answer basic questions such as the IMF’s birth year and Japan’s contribution to the IMF. And a hundred of these visitors further tried out a board game on SDGs where people were asked to match the IMF’s initiatives and contributing goals of the SDGs.

Many challengers said that the quiz and game were great ways to learn about the Fund. “I’d heard of the IMF on news, but I didn’t know exactly what it does. I’ve learnt a lot today from the game!” said an elderly woman who answered all questions in the quiz and the board game. A college student majoring in environmental studies was surprised to learn  through the SDGs game that the IMF as an economic institution focuses on policy work not only about the economy but also climate change. “Does the IMF also work on environmental issues? That’s great!”  

The festival also presented an opportunity for the IMF and the WB to talk about career opportunities, paths and preparation for prospective youths. About 50 people listened to presentations by OAP Director Chikahisa Sumi and WB Tokyo’s Senior External Affairs Officer Koichi Omori at the talk event “Let’s Work at the International Financial Institutions!” The two presenters explained typical career paths, introduced the WB’s and IMF’s respective scholarships for Japanese and encouraged the audience to plan ahead to prepare their careers.

 “The talk event broadened my career perspective, because I never imagined I would work for an international organization before but I now think it’s reachable,” said Sayaka Suwa, one of the two senior students from Ritsumeikan University who assisted the talk event and the WB booth operation. “I believe that playing the games at the booths and listening to the career talk were an eye-opener for many other high school and college students to plan ahead their careers. I now understand how important it is for the international organizations to participate in the festival like this to promote their work.”

OAP is committed to public outreach throughout Japan and beyond. It has been participating in a similar event, the Global Festa, in Tokyo for more than a decade.