The TOMODACHI Amway Japan Foundation Tohoku Future Leader Program Officially Kicks Off in Minami Sanriku-cho, Miyagi Prefecture
On February 23, the pre-departure orientation of the TOMODACHI Amway Japan Foundation Tohoku Future Leader Program was held at the Portal Center in Minami Sanriku-cho, Miyagi Prefecture. The event officially marked the launch of the program by bringing together the Amway Japan Foundation, representatives from Minami Sanriku-cho, and program participants and their guardians.
The program was created to foster the next generation of leaders in Tohoku who will rediscover the charms of their town and revitalize it through the power of tourism. The program will run for eight months and consists of four parts, including pre-departure seminars, a study trip to the United States, post-trip seminars, and a final presentation.
On behalf of the Amway Japan Foundation, Mr. Mark Davidson, Councilor, and Ms. Kafuu Toh, Representative Director, shared their support for the program and sent words of encouragement to the participants.
Following their remarks, TOMODACHI Initiative representatives introduced an overview and history of TOMODACHI. The mayor of Minami Sanriku-cho, Mayor Sato, expressed his expectations for the participants and shared the challenges faced by his town. Mayor Sato mentioned the deep connection between Minami Sanriku-cho and the United States that developed during the Great East Japan Earthquake, and asked the participants to convey the town’s gratitude to those they meet in the United States. Furthermore, noting that the town had lost almost 5,000 residents, he challenged the students to consider ways tourism can bring brightness to the town, ways to create a sustainable town, and the vast impacts the tourism industry has on the fishing and agricultural industries. After receiving Mayor Sato’s encouraging message, “It’s your turn, and we want you to be on the frontlines and lead our town,” the participants have renewed motivation to participate in the program.
Keeping in mind their passions and goals, including sharing the strong ties and kindness of Minami Sanriku-cho’s people, as well as building a career while using their English skills, the participants will work together throughout the program to grow for themselves and their town. They will continue with pre-departure seminars, including site visits around Minami Sanriku-cho, before going on a study trip to the United States in late March.
This program is generously supported by the Amway Japan Foundation, with support from Minami Sanriku-cho and the Minami Sanriku-cho Tourism Association.