Dr. Ashfaq Ishaq | Washington, D.C., USA

We love the Akira Foundation at the International Child Art Foundation. Our visions are perfectly aligned and our devotion to the next generation is unmatched.

Working together in Japan we are helping nurture children’s creativity so that the next generation can reshape the future and redesign the world, making progress sustainable and peace everlasting. It came as no surprise when the ICAF Youth Board selected the Akira Foundation for the “World Children’s Award 2015.”

We were delighted that Mr. Hirofumi Yokoi came to meet the children at their 5th World Children’s Festival in Washington, D.C. and receive the award from them on June 30, 2015 at The Ellipse, next to The White House. We look forward to working closely with the Akira Foundation for many years to come.

Dr. Ishaq founded the International Child Art Foundation (ICAF) in 1997 to serve American children as their national arts and creativity organization and the world’s children as their international arts and creativity organization. He began his career at the World Bank as research economist and later joined the George Washington University as associate professor. He has written extensively on creativity and development. A recipient of The Ziegfeld Award of the United States Society for Education Through Art and the Distinguished Service Award of the United States Sports Academy, he served as one of the five international judges appointed by the United Nations who selected the final design for the Slavery Memorial at the UN Headquarters in New York. Every four years he produces the World Children’s Festival on The National Mall in Washington.

I enrolled in a PhD program at a Japanese national university and had researched the possibility to implement the life skills education programs effective in developing abilities to avoid sexual risk behaviors. Luckily enough, I was awarded an Social Innovation Scholarship (SIS) from Akira Foundation, which helped focus my entire time on conducting literature reviews and field researches for my dissertation.

The past research findings on the preceding topic in and out of Japan show that the status of risk behaviors among youth, reflects individual and environmental factors. In particular, self esteem that manages personal risks represents social and psychological constructs that have been found to underlie multiple risk behaviors.

With this most claimed research result in mind, developing life skills is essential to preventing adolescent and any other types of risky behaviors among youth. Following this proven line of argument, I have conducted with school teachers vairous field research and workshops in the life skill training program related to sexual development and risk behaviors, as well as having been examining the effectivness of the program.

Last, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to Akira Foundation for kindly providing Social Innovation Scholarship to me. May as many foreign students as possible obtain such support and asssitance as Akira Foundation offers, which helps follow through with their research activities, addressing and solving many of the societal problems.

Meijin Li earned a Ph.D at the Graduate School of Human Development and Environment, Kobe University, in Hyogo, Japan. She is an alumna of SIS Fellow 2010 at Akira Foundation. She was also awarded “Monbukagakusho Honor Scholarship for Privately Financed International Students” from Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) in 2003, 2005, and 2012, and a scholarship from Rotary Yoneyama Memorial Foundation in 2008. Prior to coming for a study in Japan, she had taught Chinese linguistics and literature as a licensed teacher at an elementary school in China.
Research scope: The Study of Possibility to Implement the Life Skills Education Programs Effective in Developing Abilities to Avoid Sexual Risk Behaviors into China
Dr. Gary Kendall | South Africa

“What a dilemma we face!  Three short centuries of extraordinary human progress have been enabled by our releasing millions of years of ancient sunlight through burning fossil fuels.  Unfortunately, this activity has been quietly undermining the very progress it helped to create, while fooling us into believing we could triumph over fundamental physical laws. 

With a clear understanding that this development pathway is no longer available to us, humanity is united by the challenge of how to sustain human progress and create flourishing, equitable societies within the hard biophysical boundaries imposed by our home planet.  Such global-scale challenges – and opportunities for international collaboration – have no historical precedent. 

Given this context, I consider myself immensely privileged to be exploring potential solutions with people and institutions of vision, integrity and courage.  Atsufumi and the Akira Foundation fall squarely in this category.  I was honoured when Atsu invited me recently to participate in a colloquium on African Urbanisation at Sophia University, Tokyo.  Akira Foundation was instrumental in constructing a high-quality event, facilitating a rich exchange of ideas between experts in Japan and the African continent.  I am convinced that dialogues of this nature will be essential if we are to succeed in cracking the code for this next phase of human development.”

Dr. Gary Kendall is Deputy Director at the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL) in South Africa. Gary has been working with the Cape Town office of CPSL since January 2011, having previously led SustainAbility’s think tank function. Gary has advised several leading companies on how to approach and tackle sustainability challenges, including Coca-Cola, Ford, Nestlé, Novo Nordisk, A.P. Møller-Maersk, Anglo American and Shell. Previously, Gary spent two years working in WWF’s Global Climate & Energy program, where his main interests were the causes of – and solutions to – the challenges associated with hydrocarbon fuels. This followed nine years in the downstream oil industry with ExxonMobil, spanning diverse roles from Research and Product Development to Sales, Marketing, and Business Development. Working across Europe, the US and Asia offered Gary first-hand insight to the sustainability challenges faced by one of the world’s most problematic sectors. Gary is the author of the WWF publication “Plugged In” and has a PhD in Physical Chemistry.
Georges Etienne Duhamel | France

“Our world is becoming more integrated every day, and people get more opportunities to see each other. Yet, developing new communication networks as such is insufficient to reduce the distance between people. I believe that each of us shall always make a first step toward the other and shall always try to understand his/her interlocutor while respecting his/her values.

I know well Atsufumi, a friend. He and Akira Foundation have set up a thriving environment that allows the people to communicate and exchange ideas in order to share the diversity and richness of their culture to a better world. Our world can only be in peace, if we know each other and talk together.”

Georges Etienne Duhamel is a senior employee of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Prior to joining the IAEA, he served for more than 10 years an engineer at the French Leading nuclear industry in Cherbourg.
Tasmia Persoob | Bangladesh

“This scholarship not only helps the foreign students financially to fulfill their academic researches, but also accelerates their confidence levels. The Foundation also creates a platform for communication for young academicians from a variety of countries, which is essential for their intellectual development. I’m very honoured to be a part of this Foundation and I wish every success for Akira Foundation.”

Tasmia Persoob earned a PhD at the Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University, in Osaka, Japan. She is also a 2010 Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship Student and Akira Foundation Alumna of SIS Fellow 2009.
Ongoing research: Identity and Human Rights: The Case of Camp Based Urdu Speaking Community in Bangladesh
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