26 November 2014
Tokyo, Japan

The American and Japanese participants of the 2014 TOMODACHI US-Japan Youth Exchange Program gathered in Tokyo to present their experiences on the program. The American students from Washington, DC were at the end of their two-week program in Japan, and had recently returned from the disaster-affected areas of Tohoku, where they had learned from local non-profits. Participants shared their stories in front of U.S. Embassy Tokyo Deputy Chief of Mission Jason Hyland and U.S.-Japan Council President Irene Hirano Inouye.

American students were deeply moved by the stories of those who survived the earthquake and tsunami as well as the various work being done by people to help the economic recovery in the region. They announced a plan for an exhibit in March 2015, in Washington, DC to talk about their visit to Japan and to reflect on their visit to Tohoku.

The program concluded with remarks given by Hirofumi Yokoi, Chief Executive Officer of the Akira Foundation, the organization responsible for coordinating the program in Japan. “We hope you have achieved the goals set for yourself two weeks ago. We understand how a TOMODACHI program can change lives, especially for the youth participants.”

*Source: TOMODACHI HP (http://usjapantomodachi.org/2014/11/13981/)
For more information, please click here.

19 September 2014
Tokyo, Japan

Akira Foundation organized a seminar for a delegation from the King Prajadhipok’s Institute (KPI), Thailand, on Friday, September 19, 10am-12pm. The delegation was taking an intermediate certificate course: New Era Leadership in Democratic Systems at KPI in Thailand. The seminar, titled “Social Innovation (SI): the Movement and Dynamics for Social Change and Impact,” took place at the Yotsuya Campus (Tokyo, Japan) of Sophia University.

KPI delegation was briefed by two guest speakers, Hirofumi Yokoi, President and CEO, Akira Foundation and C. Jeffrey Char, a serial entrepreneur and President and CEO, J-Seed Ventures, Inc. Mr. Yokoi shared the mission and purpose of Akira Foundation in promoting social innovation and entrepreneurship in and out of Japan, using his theory of “The Process of Social Innovation.” Mr. Char presented the roles and leadership taken by Japanese youth in incubating and validating their business ideas for starting up.

KPI delegation was comprised of 63 members, most of whom were senior executives from local and national governments, the private sector, and academic institutions. At the seminar, as a representative from the supporting institution, Professor Miki Sugimura, Vice President for Academic Exchange of Sophia University, made a closing remark to the delegation. They arrived at Tokyo on Wednesday, September 17, 2014, and left for Bangkok on Monday, September 22, 2014.

8 August 2014
Tokyo, Japan

Akira Foundation sponsored the entrepreneurship program for college students in Japan, “Connect The Dots: Workshop for Future Entrepreneurs,” which was kicked off in Tokyo on 4th August.

President Hirofumi Yokoi attended the last day of the week-long program, which was hosted by NTT DOCOMO Ventures, alongside the program leader, C. Jeffrey Char, President and CEO, and his colleagues from J-Seed Ventures, Inc. and other sponsors, speakers, advisors, judges and volunteers.

11 women and 9 men participated in the program this year. In their reviews, students mentioned that “they learned a lot about starting up a business and felt the program was a very tough, but valuable experience.”

For more details on the program “Connect The Dots,” click here (in Japanese only).

10 June 2014
Tokyo, Japan

Don’t miss out on great volunteering opportunities this summer in Japan! We support the campaign activities led by Tokyo Volunteer Action Center, as do other companies including Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Glaxo SmithKline, Yahoo! Japan and UBS Group. The fields available for volunteers vary from health care, education, disabled and elderly care, and childcare to environmental conservation, international cooperation, and cross-cultural learning. For further information, please visit http://www.tvac.or.jp/summer/ (in Japanese only).

3 June 2014
Tokyo, Japan

U.S.-Japan Council has released TOMODACHI U.S.-Japan Youth Exchange Program 2014, along with the post-program highlights in 2013, in their website. Akira Foundation has been the main local partner of this program since its inception.

“In 2014, six DC high school students will be selected for the program; DCPS and charter school students are eligible to apply. The purpose of the exchange is to promote cultural dialogue and understanding between DC and Japanese teens; to provide exposure to social entrepreneurship and organizations promoting social change; and to enhance the students’ leadership skills and global awareness. Japanese language instruction will be included this year. The 2014 program consists of:

  • A five week summer program for DC students, which includes the two-and-a-half week visit of Japanese exchange students from mid-July to early August.
  • Travel to Japan for two-and-a-half weeks in November, which includes the reciprocal student exchange and home stays in Tokyo, as well as a trip to Tohoku, the region impacted by the 2011 tsunami.
  • Regular meetings throughout 2014-15.
  • Student produced final product and presentation.
To learn more about this DC-Japan exchange program, and to keep up with the latest developments, click here.
Source: HP of the U.S.-Japan Council (Japan)

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