Febuary 2023 Issue

Accepting Students Willing to Address the Social Issue

Building the TOMODACHI Generation: Morgan Stanley Ambassadors Program is an intensive, two-week program for Japanese and American university students taking place in Washington D.C.

Students learn leadership, teamwork, and communication skills to address social issues through workshops, lectures, and visiting organizations. As well as the program enhances global skills through collaboration with U.S. counterparts on a civil society initiative or project that addresses specific social challenges.

The program started accepting applications for the 2023 program. Please see the details here. 

Lecture at the Washington Center

Break the Bias! 

The TOMODACHI Boeing Keio SFC Entrepreneurship Seminar 2022 for high school and university students is now at the program's midpoint.
The central theme of the February 12th seminar was "Break the Bias!", covering five important steps for breaking the bias. "Vulnerability," "The Dunning-Kruger Effect," is the hypothesis of cognitive bias that people with low ability, expertise, and experience tend to overestimate their abilities. As well as "Accountability," "Self-awareness," and "Feedback," and "Reframing the Question." The participants reflected on themselves and discussed each point with team members. The seminar ended with a homework assignment. 

Youth With Disabilities Digital Stories Viewable on YouTube

On February 13, TOMODACHI Story Jam for Youth with Disabilities 2022 participants, Mr. Dan Ito and Mr. Daisuke Kasayanagi, visited the Northrop Grumman Japan headquarters. After showing the video, the storytellers talked about the messages in the video, what they learned from the program, and what they would like to do in the future. Daisuke said, "Because of my disability, I had the opportunity to participate in the program and meet people from different backgrounds." Northrop Grumman employees who participated in the debriefing session offered encouragement, saying they were impressed and looked forward to the participants' future endeavors. They also spoke highly of the narrative of the videos produced by the participants and the impact of the messages conveyed in the videos. It was a valuable experience for the participants to visit the sponsor companies.

On February 19, seven program participants, Mr. Dan Ito, Ms. Yui Higashikawa, Ms. Kina Wakiyama, Ms. Rachel Clark, Mr. Robert Curley, Ms. Deidra A. Denson, and Mr. Louis, presented in the Student Showcase of the 4th International Disability Inclusion Symposium, where they shared the video with approximately 80 symposium attendees and answered questions from them. Louis said, "In creating the video, I had to disclose some things that were difficult to talk about, but the process allowed me to be a good spokesperson for myself and those around me." A participant asked Rachel, "Do you share the videos you create with people outside the program? And what kind of activities would you like to do in the future?" She responded, "When I showed the video to a friend at the same university, she was moved to tears. The video I created led to me receiving a scholarship to study abroad in Ireland, and I want to continue to challenge myself positively to do many things. I hope to visit Japan someday." Symposium participants also commented that they would like to become storytellers themselves. The event also allowed the 2022 program participants to give an impetus to future storytellers.

The stories are uploaded on YouTube, and more will be added soon. Please visit the YouTube playlist from here.

Sports Leadership Program Participants Head to the United States

After three months of preparation, ten TOMODACHI - U.S. Embassy Go for Gold Sports Leadership Program participants met for the first time in person on February 25 at the Japan National Stadium, completed in 2019 and designed to evoke" strength, simplicity, and grace," set the stage for the trip.
They departed for the United States the next day, on February 26, to learn about the differences between the sports business in America and Japan. They will meet with leaders and decision-makers who manage facilities such as the iconic LA Memorial Coliseum, 'the state-of-the-art SoFi Stadium that re-imagines the fan experience, and the legendary Madison Square Garden.
Upon their return, they will present their findings and future vision to the program stakeholders and special guests at the Roppongi Hills Club. Read More>>

Beginning of The Year Alumni Gathering in Boston

Organized by Mr. Felix Garcia, Regional Representative of the New England Region, January 31 was the first regional gathering for TOMODACHI Alumni in the new year at the Consulate-General of Japan in Boston. 
The event was honored by the attendance of Consul General Kotaro Suzuki, and some of the alumni attended the gathering for the first time. They all also enjoyed the raffle to win TOMODACHI goods and free-style networking. Read More>>

Save the Date for Next Generation Summit 2023!

The TOMODACHI Next Generation Summit is an annual gathering for TOMODACHI alumni to reconnect, inspire and learn from each other.
This year, the summit will be on Saturday, July 1, 2023.  (2 pm to 5:30 pm and Reception 6 pm to 7:30 pm) 
Save the date and register from here.

Alumni Highlight

Mr. Sora Shirota is an alumnus of the TOMODACHI Summer 2018 SoftBank Leadership Program and is in his second year at Tama University. He organized a “Tohoku Observation Tour” and got involved in the launch of the student organization CRENECTION. As the President of this organization, he is engaged in activities to connect students working on regional revitalization. Currently, he is reevaluating his identity and searching for ways to provide new value in community revitalization. 

He made a speech at closing remarks at the Next Generation Summit 2022 on October 27, 2022.  Read More of his speech here.

TOMODACHI Opportunities 

Interns, U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) & TOMODACHI Initiative (remote)
The U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) and the TOMODACHI Initiative are currently seeking interns. The internship offers an exciting environment where interns will be exposed to the non-profit, corporate, and government fields simultaneously. Responsibilities include creating and drafting documents, translation, website management, social media management, newsletter development support, public speaking, communication with program participants, designing presentations and posters, and event planning. 
For more information and to apply, click here.
Program Intern, TOMODACHI Initiative Alumni (remote)
The Program Intern will assist the Director of Programs and Partnerships for the U.S.-Japan Council and the TOMODACHI Alumni Coordinator in the area of programming for the TOMODACHI Initiative Alumni Leadership Program. Reports to the Director of Programs and Partnerships for the U.S.-Japan Council. This position requires conveying and dispersing information from TOMODACHI Alumni Affairs to the TOMODACHI alumni community, as well as the broader U.S.-Japan Council community. 
For more information, click here.
Please send applications to alumni@usjapancouncil.org.

Update from Team TOMODACHI - February 2023

For donors, supporters, and friends of the TOMODACHI Initiative and the TOMODACHI Generation.

Led by the U.S.-Japan Council and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, the TOMODACHI Initiative is a public-private partnership born out of support for Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. TOMODACHI invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges and leadership programs.