Professor hosts workshop in Japan

Ariana Grams

Northern Michigan University has been working with schools internationally and that relationship is being upheld by an economics professor who has been working with schools in Japan.

Tawni Ferrarini, associate professor of economics and director for the Center of Economic Education and Entrepreneurship (CEEE) at NMU, spent spring break in Japan helping launch CEEE’s Economic program in schools. She was invited because of the success of the program at NMU, which is internationally known, she said. While there she visited Tokyo and Kyoto.

She met with people from IBM and the ministry of education to discuss the importance of economics and entrepreneurship, Ferrarini said.

“What happens at NMU can positively impact the kindergarten through high school educational system in Japan,” Ferrarini said.

While in Japan she taught a two-day workshop for K-12 teachers from all over the country. The workshop was centered around economics. Thirty teachers were at the workshop and they all received gifts from Ferrarini which were centered on the U.P.

“We are interconnected,” Ferrarini said. “The U.P. is rich in natural resources, or raw earth.  Japan needs them to produce cars and car parts. Together we make each other better off and help people living in other parts of the globe do the same through voluntary exchange.”

The choices that are made today affect the future, and that is why her work there is so important, she said. Everything is interconnected economically and all decisions make a difference; economics is win-win, not win-lose, Ferrarini said. Everything that is done here economically impacts everywhere in the world.

“Every decision is an economic one,” Ferrarini said. “Through economic education and entrepreneurship training, we can assist others in understanding that the world becomes a better place when we engage in win-win exchanges.”

Ferrarini also recently co-authored a newly revised textbook titled “Common Sense Economics: What Everyone Should Know about Wealth and Prosperity,” which was released in August. The first version of the book was published in 2005. She worked on the book with three other people.

Ferrarini said she gained this opportunity while she was a visiting scholar at Florida State University working along side James Gwartney, the lead author of the book, she said.

“The success of the NMU, CEEE and my research on technology integration influenced the decision to have me work along side Dr. Gwartney,” Ferrarini said.

She has been promoting her book, as she did during the workshops. She will likely return to present more workshops in Japan in the future, she said. She will also continuing to promote her book in the future.