AFLAC Officer And Wife Make Gift To Spur Asia Studies at CSU

Columbus, Ga. - Building on the successful sister-city program between Columbus and Kiryu, Japan, Columbus State University will expand its Asian studies efforts with a $100,000 gift from a senior AFLAC executive and his wife.

The donation comes from Minoru Nakai, who has been with AFLAC since 1977, and his wife Masako Nakai, who essentially started the Columbus-Kiryu program in 1987 by organizing the first group of Columbus students to visit Kiryu city for two-week home stays. The couple made the gift to the CSU Capital Campaign, An Investment in People, this month to establish an endowed fund for Asian Studies at CSU.

For more than 10 years CSU has offered Japanese language courses, hosted the English Language Institute for students from Kiryu and organized citizen groups traveling to Kiryu. After two years of research and planning, Columbus State also now offers an interdisciplinary Asian Studies Minor. These activities are part of the university's commitment to providing international exposure and education to its students and its community. More specifically, the Asian efforts are based on the strength of community ties with Asia and the rich cultural heritage and vital economic and political role of Asian countries.

The Minoru and Masako Nakai Fund for Asian Studies will support the English Language Institute; annual scholarships for students seeking to study abroad in Asia (Columbus State University recently signed a student exchange agreement with Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka); and help expand Asian studies at CSU by possibly bringing Asian scholars and lecturers to Columbus and sponsoring Asian cultural events, for example.

'Our economy, our technology and our culture today are no longer confined by borders and we believe there is a real need to provide all our students with some exposure to the international community,' said Academic Affairs Vice President Martha Saunders. 'The Minoru and Masako Nakai Fund for Asian Studies will certainly aid in that mission and bring about a better connection with a vitally important part of the world.'

Minoru Nakai is senior advisor of AFLAC International, Inc, and senior advisor and director of AFLAC Insurance Services Co., Ltd., AFLAC Payment Services Co., Ltd., and aflac.direct.com. Masako 'Mako' Nakai has always been active in her community. In 1999, the Japan-America Society of Georgia presented her with the Mike Mansfield Award, presented annually to an outstanding Georgian and Japanese who has continuously worked to promote better understanding between the peoples of Japan and the United States. Established in 1985, the award is named in honor of former U.S. senator and ambassador to Japan, Mike Mansfield. In Columbus,she was on the Schwob School of Music steering committee and involved with so many local efforts, the city of Columbus presented her with a Resolution of Appreciation for her many contributions.

'We have seen first hand the impact that CSU has on this community and its students,' said Minoru/Mako Nakai. 'We are delighted to be able to make this gift to bring about a stronger connection between two communities -with love.'

CSU's 'Investment in People' capital campaign seeks to raise $80 million to establish a learning environment more advanced than at any institution of similar size. CSU has logged more than $70 million - $60 million in gifts and pledges that will be received over the next five years and $10 million in deferred gifts, such as wills.

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Contact: Rex Whiddon, (706) 568-5185; E-mail: whiddon_rex@ColumbusState.edu