Signing Ceremony to take place between Kumamoto Board of Education, MCPS and UM

January 15, 2015

MISSOULA – The University of Montana will host a ceremony Tuesday, Jan. 20 to commemorate the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding among the Kumamoto Prefecture Board of Education, Missoula County Public Schools and UM.

Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, and the state of Montana began a sister-state/prefecture relationship in July 1982 based on the recommendation by Mike Mansfield, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Since the agreement was established, the sister-state relationship has fostered cooperation, and academic and research exchanges throughout the state.

Both UM and MCPS have maintained strong ties to high schools in Kumamoto and to the Kumamoto Board of Education since the program’s inception, with both sides participating in high school student exchange programs that work to promote cultural understanding. High school instructors from Kumamoto also have visited Montana for language and instructional training.

The MOU is a document that will further strengthen the cooperation between the three entities, focusing primarily on developing study abroad programs for Kumamoto Prefecture high school students, as well as developing paths to allow these high school students to enter UM academic programs upon graduation. The document also addresses the development of professional training and exchange programs for Kumamoto Prefecture teachers and administrators.

Those signing the agreement will include Paulo Zagalo-Melo, associate provost for global century education and director of International Programs; UM President Royce Engstrom; MCPS Superintendent Alex Apostle; and Superintendent of Kumamoto Prefecture Board of Education, Ryuichi Tasaki.

MCPS also will host school tours for the delegation at 1:30 p.m. the same day at Hellgate High School, and at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21 at Big Sky High School.

For more information, email Hatton Littman, MCPS director of technology and communication, at or call 406-728-2400 ext. 1024.



Contact: Hatton Littman, MCPS director of technology and communication, 406-728-2400 ext. 1024,