CSU student wins Japanese speech contest, earns trip to Japan

Peter Dickerson stands outside the College of Liberal Arts Deans OfficeFor Peter Dickerson, a speech won him a ticket around the world.

Dickerson, a biology major with a Japanese minor, competed in the 31st Colorado/Wyoming Japanese Speech Contest in the College III category on Nov. 4 in Denver. Dickerson delivered what his professor Mako Beecken describes as an “insightful speech about cultural difference with great fluidity and confidence.”

The judges agreed. Dickerson was awarded first place in the competition, earning him a trip to Japan as a representative of Colorado State University and the United States through the KAKEHSHI Project.

The KAKEHASHI Project is a people to people exchange program between Japan and North America sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The project promotes mutual trust and understanding among the peoples of Japan, the United States, and Canada, and works to build a basis for future friendship and cooperation. Through this project, the participants study the Japanese government, society, history, and foreign policy and experience the Japanese culture in person.

“I am honored and humbled to have been chosen by the KAKEHSHI Project as part of just ten individuals nationwide that are selected as winners of Japanese speech contests,” said Dickerson.

While Dickerson juggles a tough course load with his biology major and the CSU Honors Program, he is determined to continue his Japanese studies. Passionate about Japan, Dickerson wanted to challenge himself freshmen year to learn the language. Three years later, he is going to put that hard work into practice.

“I am excited to take this opportunity to learn more about the Japanese culture throughout the program and to share one of my passions with people from around the world, both in person at the Colorado State University Japan Club, and also online through the use of social media,” said Dickerson.

“I hope that this project will serve international relations well into the future, even if it is just at an individual level, and that we can all understand each other more, celebrating and respecting different cultures.”

The Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures is in CSU’s College of Liberal Arts.