Faces of UMSI: Tsuyoshi Kano

A passion for travel to developing countries and skills in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have opened the door to a career path for Tsuyoshi Kano.

The Japanese native is interested in how ICT can affect economic development in developing countries, ultimately helping an impoverished population. His interest is not just pie in the sky – he’s already had plenty of practical experience.

A third-year doctoral student at UMSI, Tsuyoshi has visited more than 30 countries, about half of them because of business trips. His list of developing countries includes Rwanda, Bangladesh, Vietnam and the Philippines.

 “I really like traveling to developing countries because of their hospitality,” says Tsuyoshi, who grew up in Hitachi, Japan. “And I really like ICT. So, I started thinking I could contribute to those countries using my skills. I believe technology can be a very effective tool to improve human and economic development (under some conditions). I would like to contribute to that development using my knowledge and experience of ICT as a research and a practitioner.”

He earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering and his master’s in information technology from Yokohama National University in his native country. 

Before enrolling in UMSI, Tsuyoshi worked for three years in Bangladesh as an economic development officer for the Japan International Cooperation Agency.  He worked with the Japanese and Bangladesh governments to introduce a smartcard program for public buses. The goal was to create transparent money transactions and cashless transportation; previously, bus riders needed to buy a ticket every day.

He served as a coordination officer, working with the Bangladesh and Japanese governments and a private ICT company. The project, he says, has faced a lot of challenges but the project members are still working hard to achieve transparent and smooth transportation. 

He recently returned from a three-month internship in Kigali, Rwanda, where he worked for the Rwanda ICT Chamber on strategy information, project formulation, monitoring and evaluation.  That experience, he says,  will contribute a lot to his research on ICT industry development and human resource development in the ICT sector in Rwanda. 

The road to UMSI was random. He met two UMSI professors on different occasions, in different countries, and their encouragement enticed him to apply to UMSI. 

 “Their research interests had many similarities with my interests,” Tsuyoshi says. “I met Joyojeet (Pal) in Japan and he encouraged me to pursue more skill development. I met Kentaro (Toyama) at a conference in South Africa and I realized he could be a kind of mentor for me.”

Toyama became Tsuyoshi’s advisor. Tsuyoshi says he was also impressed with the school and the university as a whole.

“This school is very flexible,” he says. “You can take any course in the university. I am interested in how technology can change people, so the school encouraged me to take education courses, psychology courses and economics classes. It’s interdisciplinary.”

Tsuyoshi believes his education and research interests at UMSI are the perfect springboard to the career he envisions.

“If my research can contribute something to better policy making in a developing country, then that would make me very happy,” he says.