Mar 24, 2021
Dr. Katherine Loh, assistant professor of communication, invited guest speaker Kiyomi Buker to discuss conflict from an organizational perspective for a Zoom session with students from her “Conflict and Race” course on Feb. 23.
Buker is the current social secretary to the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C., and works alongside the ambassador and the deputy chief to bridge connections with other countries.
Working for the ambassador requires a level of diplomacy, a characteristic that she feels is necessary to keep conflict at a minimum. One of Buker’s roles is planning events and meetings between key nationals and diplomats.
"Protocol is creating a moment so special that it will be treasured forever," Buker said. The Japanese embassy has worked closely with the International Olympic Committee since 2013 in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed until the summer of 2021 because of COVID-19.
“One phone call can change your day,” said Buker, who has worked with many diplomats, representatives, and presidents over the course of her career.
Given that her job involves interactions with people across all political parties, Buker’s position requires a great deal of patience and understanding, she has to continue to work with people regardless of their political party. In discussing how conflict is managed in a diplomatic setting, she made it clear that maintaining an objective perspective is key.
When she first moved to the U.S., Buker did not see herself wanting to find a career in this field after college, but she changed her mind once she saw the opportunity to stay connected to her Japanese heritage. She is now in her 25th year at the embassy and finds that her appointment was a perfect way to introduce people to Japanese culture, a job that she feels has become more important in recent years.
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