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Lesotho 

On August 2, 2018, the International School Network visited the Embassy of the Kingdom of Lesotho to interview the Ambassador, Her Excellency Dr. Palesa Mosetse.

Education
H.E. Dr. Mosetse explained to us the educational system of Lesotho, as being a priority for Basotho people. H.E. Dr. Mosetse explained that education in Lesotho is state funded, and since its recent curriculum change, has become more outcome based. As an expert in education, she notes that education in Lesotho has been changing in a promising direction, and that Lesotho education share a similarity with Japanese education in that similar things are studied.

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Cultural Values
In terms of cultural values, H.E. Dr. Mosetse explained that the people of Lesotho place a high value on their monarchy, as it is the key to the nation’s unity and stability. She also stated that Basotho people, like Japanese people, tend to be respectful and orderly.

Dream
H.E. Dr. Mosetse expressed to us that her dream was always to become a teacher. She also told us the anecdote about her building her home. She said that she used to use the ashes as ink to write on bricks.

Nature
Lesotho does not have many wild animals. H.E. Dr. Mosetse explained that the nation is now developing a trans-multi nature reserve to help animals cross borders. She is encouraging various projects for sustainable development, including the education to redress mistakes and litter problems

Goals
H.E. Dr. Mosetse is a teacher and lecturer at heart, so her goals as an Ambassador include wanting to exchange ideas in research, and for Japan to teach Lesotho various things. 

H.E. Dr. Mosetse also addressed the problem of youth unemployment, as she notes that potential is not utilized. She hopes that young Basotho people can become job creators and to be taught the mindset for employment. Especially, H.E. Dr. Mosetse sees potential in the agricultural business. Since many families rely on subsistence farming, she hopes to take them to the next level of commercial agriculture. She explains that starvation and unemployment can be diminished because the nation is full of resources, of land, water, and educated people. 

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Dress
The traditional dress of Lesotho come 95% from native Basotho, with influence from South Africa. H.E. Dr. Mosetse is trying to encourage education to include traditional aspects.

Relations with Japan
H.E. Dr. Mosetse expressed her appreciation of working in Japan. She feels safe working in Japan, and greatly appreciates the respect, humility, and security of the people. She feels that Japanese people share the love of people, as well as the love for their country, which is an important aspect of harmony and stability.

The relations between Lesotho and Japan has been very friendly. Japan has been helping Lesotho with agriculture in the 1970s, and this has extended to education. H.E. Dr. Mosetse hopes that more Japanese people can go to Lesotho to learn about and familiarize with their culture. H.E. Dr. Mosetse emphasized that there should be no language barrier, as 50% of the people in Lesotho can speak English. She hopes to convey that Lesotho is not a dangerous place but is a place with peace. 

H.E. Dr. Mosetse believes that Lesotho has a lot to offer to Japanese people, especially with a lot of room to invest. She explained that Lesotho has various natural resources that are not being processed, as the country is the top diamond producing country in the world, and has very clean water. Despite the geographical distance between Lesotho and Japan, H.E. Dr. Mosetse hopes that she can encourage more Japanese people to come to Lesotho.

Peace
H.E. Dr. Mosetse believes that peace is not necessarily the absence of wars; it is also the absence of poverty and hunger in a country. The situation of Lesotho lacks wars, but still has instability. H.E. Dr. Mosetse’s idea of peace is the ability of people to live with one another. Despite the differences between individuals, such as political ideologies, H.E. Dr. Mosetse hopes that we can all learn that we are different but equal at the same time. She noted that Basotho people are peaceful at heart as a nation, as people are loving and taking care of their neighbors. She expressed the value of “[being] our neighbor’s keeper”.

 

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Globalization
H.E. Dr. Mosetse explained that there are more advantages to globalization than disadvantages. Her being able to live in Japan without any problems is itself a product of Globalization. Despite being geographically apart from her family, she is still able to talk to them, and her country is able to receive more assistance from other countries. One can learn about the boundaries of different countries and feel comfortable wherever they live. H.E. Dr. Mosetse especially hopes that globalization can lead to further education on information and the potential of Lesotho to people worldwide, beyond South Africa, the nation it is geographically surrounded by.

Tourism
Lesotho offers many tourist destinations. H.E. Dr. Mosetse recommends visiting the Basotho Cultural Village, which merges aspects from the past and present. This village has simulations of indigenous houses. Furthermore, she hopes people can see Lesotho Island, which is the largest engineering water project of the 20th century. H.E. Dr. Mosetse introduced other remains from ancient times, such as dinosaur footprints, and caves full of paintings that tell us how education existed long ago. Lesotho also has many beautiful diamonds, and its geographical structure of contrasting high and low points above sea level is also a feature that visitors may find interesting. Moreover, H.E. Dr. Mosetse hopes that visitors can “see how we live” and understand the beauty and values of Lesotho.

Gender
Lesotho still has a dominant patriarchal society but has been trying to step out of issues relating to gender inequality. The country’s laws ensure that women can become anything but H.E. Dr. Mosetse notes that culture brings a “different story”. Laws in Lesotho have developed to be a dual system, under the customary and Roman Dutch Law. Despite the “appearances” of gender equality in law being ahead, the situation is different. The parliament is 30% women, but recently this number has been declining. Women in Lesotho are allowing themselves to be determined by men; such as when finances in the household are involved. It has only been 5 years since women gained the right to access bank loans, despite the fact that women are earning salaries. Moreover, H.E. Dr. Mosetse introduced to us that this situation is a unique issue because 55% of the women in Lesotho are more educated than men, with degrees in higher education, yet admin positions are mostly occupied by men. She notes that is situation is similar to the posts of ambassadors as well, as a female ambassador. Additionally, this culturally rooted gender inequality is perhaps similar to what Japan is facing.

 

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Tradition
Tradition in Lesotho is treasured by its people, as the younger generations are realizing the value of culture. H.E. Dr. Mosetse explains that this understanding is stronger now than it has been before, since education has changed from colonial times. 

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Message
As a professional in education. H.E. Dr. Mosetse is planning to have various lectures to educate students on Lesotho and what the country has to offer. She hopes that people can start talking and looking for research possibilities in exchange programs between Lesotho and Japan. She explains that as people can learn about Lesotho, investment can flourish, which she hopes would result in more people from Lesotho visiting Japan as well. 

H.E. Dr. Mosetse explained that Lesotho’s economy has been “non-existent” because the nation has been depending on donor funding. Lesotho is in need of assistance in research and education, especially in relation to agriculture, so they can feed their population of two million. People of Lesotho must learn how to process the resources that they have. 

Finally, H.E. Dr. Mosetse expressed that Basotho people are peaceful and friendly people who “want to exchange smiles”. She hopes that people around the world can learn about and appreciate the Basotho culture and its potential.
 

(Reported by  Madoka Nishina)