HLAB 2018：University Students Learn Leadership Skills by Organizing HLAB Summer Schools
From August 14 to 21, 2018, 33 university students from both Japan and the U.S. gathered to participate in the HLAB Leadership Program. The HLAB Leadership Program is an immersive leadership development program for young and talented college students. The program aims to equip the next generation of Japanese and American leaders with cross-border leadership skills and a global mindset through organizing the HLAB Summer Schools in Tokyo; Obuse in Nagano Prefecture; Tokushima Prefecture; and Onagawa and Minami Sanriku in Miyagi Prefecture.
The summer school is this program’s core event, and is offered to high school students. In August, the summer schools were held in the towns of Onagawa and Minami Sanriku in Miyagi Prefecture. Through the preparation and operation of the program, students are able to learn and practice various leadership skills.
During the summer school, both college students and high school students formed a group called House, a community aiming to be a second home for everyone. Creating a family-like tight-knit community is a great opportunity for college students to implement their mentorship skills, helping high school students to better understand themselves. Also, Seminars, were offered by the U.S. college students with the support of Japanese students. This activity, totaling 4 hours among 3 different groups, led to a deeper understanding of the students’ academic interests and helped them learn to communicate and collaborate despite the language barrier.
After the seminars, both the university students and the high school students proceeded to meet with local middle school students to share what they learned. In addition, the college students learned how to manage a project involving 450 students with a certain budget; this prepares many college students to be skillful leaders in society.
Shiori Ozawa, a student from Hitotsubashi University, said that, “this program provided me a valuable experience in organizing program. I am more than confident that the lessons I have learned through the various negotiation processes will influence the rest of my life.”
Shu Sakamoto, a student at Keio University, explained that, “this program is an outstanding community through which to learn and implement mentorship skills. Trying to help high school students to understand themselves also gives us an opportunity to look inside ourselves.”
As a result of this immersive leadership program and its core summer school element, the college students were able to grow in many ways.
This program was funded by TOMODACHI’s Fund for Exchanges through generous contributions from Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, and Hitachi, Ltd.