TOMODACHI Initiative and The Toshizo Watanabe Foundation (Chairman, Toshizo Watanabe) established “the TOMODACHI Toshizo Watanabe Leadership Program in 2022. The program aims to promote a greater understanding between the United States and Japan and to foster the next generation of leaders in both countries with an international mindset.
In response to the announcement of the new program, Toshizo Watanabe, Chairman of The Toshizo Watanabe Foundation, stated, “Being exposed to other countries and broadening horizons in their youth is such a valuable experience. I expect this program to provide promising Japanese high school students with ‘discovery’ and ‘opportunities’”
With a rigorous selection process, participants from all over Japan have been chosen to take part in training sessions in the United States. During their stay, they will engage with people in the local community, be exposed to the history and diverse cultures of the country, and acquire different perspectives and leadership skills through homestays and site visits.
In 2022, The First Program Students Traveled to the U.S.
From August 10 to 20, 2022, the inaugural TOMODACHI Toshizo Watanabe Leadership Program was held, and fourteen high school students selected from all over Japan participated in the program in California. On the program’s final day, we welcomed Toshizo Watanabe, Chairman of The Toshizo Watanabe Foundation, which supports the program, and Suzanne Basalla, President of the U.S.-Japan Council.
All students made presentations in English about the learnings gained through their time in the program. Seita Horiguchi, reflecting on the program, said, “(I learned that) a leader is someone who notices differences, thinks about and respects other perspectives. This program has strengthened my desire to go abroad in the future.” Read More>>