BEYOND Tomorrow Summer Global Program
Young students from Tohoku who share an ambition to become socially-minded leaders will venture abroad this summer.
|Participants||Europe: 11 students
U.S.: 12 students
(high school and college students from Tohoku who were competitively selected through an application process)
Summer 2013 BEYOND Tomorrow Europe Program
~ Diversity and Leadership: Experiences from France and Germany ~
Students from Tohoku who, overcoming the adversities of the Great East Japan Earthquake, displayed the will to become active leaders in the world were selected to participate in the program. The students will visit France and Germany and learn how the diversity in Europe affects society. Through their experiences in Europe, the students are expected to widen their perspective and understanding of the world, thus allowing them to think broadly about their future careers.
|Dates||July 27, 2013 – August 4, 2013|
|Sponsors||Global Fund for Education Assistance|
|Supporters||Airbus Japan K.K.|
|Program||July 13, 2013 – July 15, 2013: Orientation Program
July 27, 2013 – August 4, 2013: Europe Program
Ambitions of the Tohoku ambassadors who will venture into Europe this summer
- Each of the 11 participants of the Europe program expressed his/ her aspirations for the program
Click on the photos to view their aspirations
Atsuko Arimoto (F)
(BEYOND Tomorrow/TOMODACHI Special Scholar)
City of Origin: Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture
St. Timothy’s School
Her house 3km away from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Atsuko had to evacuate from her hometown of Okuma town to a temporary housing complex in Iwaki city. Touched by the multitude of people from across the world who aided Japan after the disaster, Atsuko wants to give back and aspires to work in a field where she can help others who are in greater need than she is. Her dream is to become a diplomat to work on global agenda. As a first step of the endeavor, she started her study at the St. Timothy’s School through the BEYOND Tomorrow High School Study Abroad Program from September 2012. She hopes to proceed to university in the United States to become a well-rounded individual with global perspectives.
“On this program, I would like to use my experiences in America as a basis for understanding the economic developments and social issues of France and Germany from many perspectives. I also want to meet people I wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet in America or Japan, and apply the lessons I learn from them to my own life. I would also like to take this chance to share my experiences since the earthquake and teach others about Tohoku.”
Yoshiyuki Ganbe (M)
City of Origin: Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture
Ishinomaki Koubunkan High School
Yoshiyuki’s home in Ishinomaki City was completely destroyed and washed away by the tsunami. He currently resides in Ishinomaki and is concerned about the gap between sections of the city that show signs of recovery and sections that have yet to rebuild its infrastructure, such as roads and buildings. He believes that sections of the city that has not recovered yet suffer from the lack of cooperation of the residents and the effectiveness of the overall community. Yoshiyuki plans to become an entrepreneur who promotes Tohoku food culture in the future, which he believes will contribute to the economic development of the Tohoku region. In order to promote and export high quality seafood and agricultural produce that are currently only sold locally, he would like to pursue pragmatic technology and cost solutions.
“I want to talk to as many people as possible, so that I can learn about other ways of thinking. I have not yet come up with a unique way that I can contribute to recovery efforts, so I would like to use this trip to expand my horizons. Also, I believe that by seeing the history of Europe’s development first-hand, I will be able to learn something that I can apply to helping Tohoku recover.”
Masaki Kaneko (M)
City of Origin: Aizu, Fukushima Prefecture
Aizu High School
Masaki is from Fukushima, where there are still many issues surrounding the nuclear explosion. However, he feels that there is a more important message that needs to be communicated, including the various projects that young high school students, like himself, in the affected region are doing, and the gradual progress that is being made. Upon participating in TOMODACHI exchange program to the U.S. and the KIZUNA exchange program to Australia, he has gained peers who are tackling the issues courageously, solidifying his determination to become active in Fukushima’s recovery. He looks forward to meeting not only the people he will see in the U.S., but also his peers in the program who will help him grow as a leader. In the future, he would like to become a global leader who can connect Japan and the U.S.
“There are some things I would like to accomplish on this Global Summer Program. One is to share the situation of Tohoku with people in Europe. There are currently many young people—including high school students—working everyday for the sake of Tohoku’s recovery. My friends and I, for instance, organize many events to help out. What I would like to share is how, through trial-and-error, young people are trying to revive the affected areas with their youthful spirit. After I return home, I would like to share the things I learn on this program with many people, so I hope to learn in detail about current affairs in Europe.”
Kenichiro Munakata (M)
City of Origin: Iwanuma, Miyagi Prefecture
Sendai First High School
Kenichiro is in the Science Department at his school, and he is conducting research on the disintegration process of cellulose, which are the main ingredients of paper and plants. He is interested in understanding if in the cases of emergency when food supplies cannot be found, old papers or trees could provide alternative nutrition and food. In the future, he would like to become a global leader in this field who can contribute to the world’s environmental and energy issues. On this program, he would like to express his thoughts on tough issues facing the Tohoku region, including “discrimination surrounding people in the nuclear explosion zones and people affected by the disaster” and “governance and systemic issues that prevent resources from reaching people who need them”.
“I would like to pursue a career in research, and I’ve heard that researchers nowadays, instead of just holing up in their labs, also meet up with other researchers, at home and abroad. For someone like me who aspires to be a researcher, the global program will be extremely valuable. Further, there aren’t many opportunities for high school students to go abroad and experience firsthand the differences between Japan and the rest of the world. Even though this trip is only one week, I hope that the things I feel, the things that surprise me, will remain in my consciousness and eventually help me when I become a researcher.”
Ayaka Ogawa (F)
City of Origin: Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture
The Leelanau School
Ayaka lost her entire family to the tsunami, as well as the house she was born and raised in. With the belief that as the only member of her family to be spared she should live life to the fullest, Ayaka decided to pursue her long-standing interest in studying abroad. Having been gratefully provided with many opportunities since the disaster, she herself would like in the future to also be able to provide chances and hope to other people. Through the BEYOND Tomorrow High School Exchange Program, she spent one year at a boarding school in Michigan in the United States. In this summer program to Europe, she would like to find strength in herself to make a difference forward.
“I think what I can do best is “tell stories.” It’s been two years since the earthquake, and I am interested in knowing what people around the world think about our stories, both sad and painful. I would like to share with the world what we have overcome and where we are headed. I also think I am very naïve, so I would like to use this opportunity to face myself once more.”
Kaede Sakuma (F)
City of Origin: Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture
Art, Tohoku University of Art and Design
Kaede lost her beloved mother in the tsunami. Immediately following the disaster and while in the midst of despair, help arrived from both within Japan and overseas, leading her to feel grateful for being able to live relatively comfortably and to a strong feeling of wanting to repay those who provided this help. On visiting a disaster-prevention center in Russia Kaede was able to meet with the relief team that helped the disaster areas, but she was struck by the difficulty she experienced in communicating and conveying her true thoughts and feelings. After returning home from Russia, she began thinking about how she wanted another chance to properly communicate her feelings to the outside world. Kaede would like to go on to study liberal arts, and hopes to play a role in carrying on the discussion about the disaster by one day putting together a book based on interviews of peoples’ experiences and thoughts regarding the disaster.
“I am currently studying art and writing at a college outside of my hometown. While I am making the most of the fact that I can study what I like in a good environment, I had recently lost sight of how I can use art and writing to tell others about the earthquake. It was then that I heard about the summer program in Europe. By participating in this program, I hope to determine exactly what I need to do to fulfill my goals. I would also like to become more sensitive to cultural differences, so that I can become a leader in the future. I am also very interested in Peace Studies, which I briefly learned about in a class, so I would like to experience firsthand the relationship between peace, literature, and art in Europe, where ties transcend country borders.”
Hitomi Sasaki (F)
City of Origin: Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture
Hitomi experienced the disaster in Kesennuma and lost her home. Having experienced such a life changing shocking and unfair experience in her place of birth as a middle school student, Hitomi’s dream is to work for the benefit of people around the world such as those in developing countries. As much as many countries helped Japan after the disaster, she hopes to become a person who can connect these countries. In order to achieve her dream Hitomi decided to go on to further education in America to improve her ability in foreign languages and gain a global perspective. Hitomi would like to study international relations, and eventually make contributions to solving global issues such as human trafficking, poverty and famine. She decided to participate in the summer program in Europe with the aim to apply her learning in Europe to think about the future of Japan and the world.
“For better or worse, many things have changed since the earthquake. As someone who is from the affected region, I would like to tell others about these changes, whether they be about people’s attitudes toward nuclear power or people’s feelings about their hometowns. Also, we can learn a lot of hints from our pre-departure assignments on the economies and inter-country relations in Europe, which can be applied to Japan. The problem of immigration in Europe is a topic is especially relevant to Japan, which is experiencing problems with the aging population. I believe that, on top of thinking ahead about the effects it has on the scale of our economy, we must also learn what kind of immigration system to adopt.”
Ko Sato (M)
(BEYOND Tomorrow/Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Special Scholar)
City of Origin: Morioka, Iwate Prefecture
Department of Regional Policy, Takasaki City University of Economics
Ko believes that the key to not forgetting about the disaster and its lessons is for survivors of the disaster to communicate their testimonies of such unprecedented destruction to many people, and would like to undertake the role of a “preacher” for the voices of those affected by the disaster. In the future Ko would like to play a role in helping with the revitalization of the area and stimulation of the local economy as part of the efforts to help the recovery of the tourism industry in Tohoku. Ko’s dream is to study abroad while at university, expand his viewpoints, and ultimately become a leader with a global passion and effective communication skills.
“I’m currently working on a project with entrepreneurs in their twenties whose goal is to discover youth from lesser-known areas of Japan who have the potential to become global leaders and to further inspire current youth leaders. I will keep this mission in mind as I interact with high school students from Tohoku. Personally, one challenge for me will be that I have never met young people from other countries. I believe that we need to show other countries the originality and strengths of the young people of Tohoku. By participating in this program, I hope to gain insights that will help the project I mentioned above succeed and gain some experiences that will push the project in a better direction in the long run.”
Kotono Sekiguchi (F)
City of Origin: Miyako, Iwate Prefecture
Miyako Commercial High School
Kotono is concerned that there is a lack of media coverage to communicate the current situation in the Tohoku region, and she believes that this is leading to many people forgetting about the disaster. Even within the Tohoku region, she feels that there is less coverage of the recovery. Kotono would like to exchange opinions about the differences between people who have been directly affected by the tsunami and earthquake and others who have not, and how this affects the memory of the public. She would like to pursue her educational field in international relations, and she would like to gain experiences with an open mind and meet new people. She views that there are lessons to be learned, even from failure, and would like to become a future leader.
“I don’t want to decide what I want to do or where I want to go just based on where I’m living and what I’m learning at school now. On this program, I want to learn test my limits by talking to people from careers and places that have never occurred to me. I believe that the first step to becoming a global leader is to stop thinking of your abilities as static and to shying away from risk so that you can accept challenges. I also want to learn about the dreams and aspiration of people who are my age and bond with them. I hope that the people I meet and the experiences I have on this trip will become a lifelong treasure.”
Tsubasa Sugeno (M)
City of Origin: Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture
Faculty of International Studies, Utsunomiya University
Tsubasa realized the importance of international cooperation after many countries provided support for Japan after the disaster, and decided that he would like to contribute to global society. In order to learn about how to forge a society in which people not just in Japan but from around the world who are suffering due to poverty and conflict can have a reassuring future, Tsubasa decided to study International Relations. While at university Tsubasa also hopes to study abroad, and broaden his horizons. As a victim of the disaster, he would also like to communicate with the rest of the world about the terror of natural disasters and the strength of Tohoku. As Tsubasa was always interested in European perspectives, he spent 2 months in U.K. in the spring of 2013, and the experience of examining Japan from outside the country made him realize that Tohoku plays such an important role for him. From 2014, Tsubasa plans to study in the United States.
“What I want to accomplish on this program is to compare what I learned about the police, government, and economy on my program in New York last time to the European Union. Since both the United States and the European Union are very diverse and large, I would like to experience firsthand the advantages of the system in Europe. I would also like to talk to leaders in many fields and learn about the thoughts and opinions of people living under such a large community as the EU. Further, since I have studied short-term in the United Kingdom, I would like to learn about how the EU became the collective that it is and how it is different from the UK, which still retains its own currency.”
Nanami Takahashi (F)
City of Origin: Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture
Miyagi First Senior High School
Although following the disaster Nanami felt despondent and like she couldn’t face the following day, she also feels that the disaster taught her important things in life that she hadn’t given much thought to previously. Following the disaster she visited Minsk in the Republic of Belarus as a representative of Tohoku, and talked about the disaster with the town mayor and local high school students. Nanami is very motivated to create a connection between Japan and high school students in France and play a role as an “overseas branch” of BEYOND Tomorrow, and spent one year in France as an exchange student. Meeting and interacting with many people in Europe gave her an opportunity to feel first-hand the support for Tohoku from the world across borders, and this experience became her source of energy. Nanami looks forward to applying her language skills and understanding of European values to the summer program in Europe.
“My goal for this program is to make the most of my strengths to help the organization. Since the first summit, I have kept my strength, which is the ability to have a global perspective, in mind and have used my time studying in France to deepen my understanding of the French language and of Europe in general, so I believe I can be very useful to the summer program. Even today, reports about the Fukushima nuclear power plant abound abroad, but people rarely have the opportunity to hear the voice of someone who actually experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake. As such, I would like people of other countries to see that we, the youth of Tohoku, are constantly learning from and challenging each other to do better. Our biggest weapon will be the ability to overcome cultural and language differences to relate our stories to others. We will do our best to bridge Tohoku to the world.”
TOMODACHI Summer 2013 BEYOND Tomorrow U.S. Program
~ Becoming a Social Change-maker with an American Perspective ~
Students from Tohoku who, overcoming the adversities of the Great East Japan Earthquake, displayed the will to become active leaders in the world were selected to participate in the program. The students will visit San Francisco and New York City, meeting people and organizations notable for their proactive efforts in improving society. Through these experiences, the students are expected to articulate how they envision themselves becoming leaders of social change and begin thinking independently about their future careers.
|Dates||August 6, 2013 – August 16, 2013|
|San Francisco||August 7-9|
|New York||August 10-14|
|Supporters||Great East Japan Earthquake Recovery Initiatives Foundation, Japan Society, United States-Japan Foundation, US-Japan Council|
Ambitions of the Tohoku ambassadors who will venture into the United States this summer
Each of the 12 participants of the U.S. program expressed his/ her aspirations for the program
Click on the photos to view their aspirations
Masahide Chiba (M)
City of Origin: Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture
Utsunomiya University, Faculty of Engineering
Masahide was in Ofunato when the disaster struck. As a result of the tsunami, he lost his mother, grandmother and home. Masahide believes that it is his mission to plan towns that are safe from natural disasters and contribute to the future recovery because he survived the devastating disaster when so many lives were lost. Masahide would like to set up a company that carries out projects related with the disaster recovery, and would like to participate in the planning of towns along the Sanriku Coast which are resilient to damage from natural disasters.
“I’ve realized that to achieve my goal to work in a rural region, I must be able to draw out the full potential of the local people. Whereas outsiders may create opportunities to solve problems existing in a region, it must be the people from that region who solve it themselves. If the path to recovery were a play, the main characters would be the local people and I would be in the background. On this program, I will remember to draw out each participant’s potential, to be considerate of others, and to keep the big picture in mind. I want to help make this trip a turning point in each of our lives.”
Manami Omura (F)
City of Origin: Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture
Ichinoseki First Senior High School
Manami lost her uncle, who lived in Rikuzentakata, to the tsunami. Although there are many serious issues in the Tohoku region, the message she would like to convey most to the world is that there are young people, including the TOMODACHI generation, who are standing up to the issues in the disaster regions. She participated in the TOMODACHI exchange program and TOMODACHI BEYOND Tomorrow Global Leadership Academy and is currently working with the colleagues she met through these programs to plan a recovery event in Kamaishi City. Manami volunteered for the TOMODACHI BEYOND Tomorrow Summer Leadership Program in hopes to become a business person who can connect Japan and the world and to gain leadership and perspectives on diversity. In the future, she would like to study abroad again.
“During my program in America, I would like to share what I experienced and learned from the March 11 Disaster. I believe that the most important role of an ambassador from Tohoku is to repay other countries for their generous help by contributing to the disaster prevention measures around the world. Also, since America is a country where people always feel free to take actions to better their community, I’m sure they have different perspectives when it comes to disaster relief, which I would like to learn and apply to Tohoku. Further, I would like to learn how to be a global leader, so that when I return home, I can be a leader who doesn’t shy away from taking action. I hope this trip will help broaden my world view so that I can better pursue my dreams.”
Minori Endo (F)
(BEYOND Tomorrow/Oki Matsumoto Special Scholar)
City of Origin: Ishinomaki, Miyagi PrefectureIshinomaki Senshu University, Faculty of Business Administration
Minori lost her father and her house to the disaster, and though feeling deep despair she wanted for lots of people to be informed about the disaster, and took advantage of her experience as being the editor of a photography department to capture some of the images of the destruction left by the tsunami, sending them out through the media. As someone who experienced the disaster, Minori is motivated to communicate about the “now” of the disaster areas, and in the future she would like to engage in activities that enable her to continue to etch each moment of life into her heart without letting the current “now” get left behind in the past.
“On the Global Summer Program, I would like to share my experiences since the disaster and thank the American people for their generous help after the earthquake. My trip to America last year blew my mind and is now one of my most precious memories. This summer, I would like to further understand and hone my strengths and improve my ability to communicate in English. Most of all, I would like to learn about the local culture and apply it to my future.”
Nana Fujiwara (F)
City of Origin: Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture
Takata Senior High School
Nana lost her grandmother in the tsunami and earthquake and her house was destroyed. Looking at her hometown of Ofunato, she believes that the recovery process has not progressed much. Living in Ofunato among the debris, she believes that a major challenge is that there is a lack of young leadership in the region. Therefore, she plans to become a leader herself who can help rebuild Tohoku’s civic planning. While Nana wants to respect the opinion of the people of Tohoku, she would also like to take in opinions from abroad to attract a wider group to the region and to promote Tohoku. She would like to participate in this program as the first step to connect with the United States and to build her experience as a young leader from the Tohoku region.
“I believe there is still much to be done for the recovery process. I hope that by participating in this summer program, I will be able to come up with ideas that can help Tohoku recover. I also hope that the debris that still remains can be removed somehow. Further, as a high school student, there is very little I can do. The most productive thing I can do is to share my perspective and learn about other perspectives. I hope that by putting our minds together, we can come up with ideas that can help the recovery process, even if just by a bit. I believe that we high school students must start planning out Tohoku’s future now by first coming up with ideas that can help Tohoku’s recovery.”
Satomi Hashimoto (F)
City of Origin: Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture
Fukushima National College of Technology
Satomi wants to take on the topics that are important but often overlooked, such as the psychological health issues, family issues, stress created from living in temporary housing, and discrimination – all arising from the issues of Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear explosion. She strives to excel in international relations, studying hard every day, believing that “learning one vocabulary in English could even connect to saving someone.” Through this program, she would like to understand the models of leadership and communication and presentation methods that attract the audience. She would like to gain as much information and experience as possible to develop her own beliefs and activities.
“I believe that this global program will be a turning point in my life, an opportunity to clarify what I have and what I really want to do. The U.S, besides being a different country, also has many cultures and many fields of study, which I hope to learn about. Further, I also hope to strengthen my own identity by meeting many people and exchanging opinions with them. I would like to provide a first-hand, uncensored view of the situation in Fukushima, a perspective which can only be seen by someone who lives there. Through BEYOND Tomorrow, I will form bonds with fellow participants, we will put our minds together, and work together to help the recovery process. I hope that my many experiences will form a good foundation for my future and help me discover what path to take.”
Masahiro Kikuchi (M)
(BEYOND Tomorrow/Project HOPE Special Scholar)
City of Origin: Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture
Tsukuba University, School of Social and International Studies
Masahiro lost both his parents in Rikuzentakata. At high school Masahiro demonstrated exceptional leadership as the president of the student council, and after the disaster visited the United Nations headquarters in Europe as part of the 14th High School Peace Ambassador. Masahiro realized the importance of international cooperation after the disaster, and he believes that that communicating the importance of disaster prevention to the rest of the world is a future mission for Japan. In the future, Masahiro would like to lead the way for the recovery of the disaster areas. To address the tough financial situation for many people who lost their jobs, Masahiro wishes to contribute to the resolution of the employment problem.
“I hope that by attending the Global Summer Program, I can become less introverted. Also, as a political science major, I’ve realized that it’s very difficult to fully understand a lot of concepts if I am not familiar with other countries, so I hope to expand my horizons through my time abroad. Further, I also realize that I have a rare opportunity to go abroad to raise awareness about the earthquake, so I will definitely do my best. Considering I could not attend last year’s summer program in the U.S. due to a sudden illness, I’m hoping to learn as much as possible from this year’s program.”
Shota Kikuchi (M)
(BEYOND Tomorrow/Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Special Scholar)
City of Origin: Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture
Tohoku Gakuin University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
When taking part in local volunteer activities following the disaster, Shota was really struck by the strength of Ofunato in the way the residents were getting going on working for recovery despite the recentness of this terrible event. In the future Shota would like to do a job that is “for the benefit of people”, and he hopes to begin to materialize this dream while at university, proactively participating in various activities and not forgetting his experiences from the disaster.
“On the Global Summer Program, I would like to expand my horizons by experiencing a different culture and raise awareness about the situation of volunteers in Tohoku. I think that by going abroad, I’ll come across different ways of thinking, which will benefit my own thought process and broaden my world view. Since I attend a university in Tohoku and have met with many people volunteering for the recovery efforts, I think what I can do best, is to tell others about what volunteers in Tohoku are doing and teach people that efforts to help Tohoku recover are far from being over.”
Takuya Kimura (M)
(BEYOND Tomorrow/Teruhide Sato Special Scholar)
City of Origin: Morioka, Iwate Prefecture
The University of Tokyo , College of arts and sciences
On seeing the dramatic change to the town of Yuriage on the coast of Natori, a landscape so familiar to him, Takuya experienced a profound sense of loss that led him to start thinking about how to contribute to the recovery. At an event held by the company employing his father for supporting the disaster areas, he was exposed to the strength of determination of those working for fishing cooperatives in moving forward, and decided he would like to help in supporting people with such ways of thinking. His ambitions for the future are to set up a company, supporting the recovery in local areas as well as stimulating the development of the economy in the whole of the Tohoku region. In addition to being involved in the development of the mountain and sea-based local produce food industry in Tohoku, Takuya also hopes to become someone able to play a role in the overhaul and improvement of the social welfare system, so that individuals who have moved away from the areas feel more inclined to come back.
“During the Global Summer Program, I’m aiming to polish my ability to communicate with others—a skill crucial to good leadership—and learn about ways of thinking that do not exist in Japan. I don’t want to just learn how to make small talk or how to get what I want. I believe this is the best opportunity to gain the ability to communicate with others as a leader—that is, to listen to and understand the perspectives of others while effectively relating my opinions to them in a different language. Further, since this is my first time abroad, I hope to learn about the thought processes and unique perspectives of people in the West.”
Haruka Kurosawa (M)
City of Origin: Onuma, Fukushima Prefecture
Aizu High School
Haruka is originally from Aizu City, where temporary housing facilities have been built for refugees from the nuclear explosion accident. Seeing the livelihood of the refugees who seemed to have lost the will to live, he began to help by “visiting the refugees to hear about their struggles and understand the needed support” and “teaching how to remove snow during the winter”. Also, Haruka visited JA Zen-noh (National Federation of Agricultural Co-operative Associations) to better understand the current situation of the harmful rumors to the region, where he became aware of the agricultural safety issues. He would like to communicate to the world about the life of the Fukushima’s refugees and the effect of the harmful rumors. Haruka has participated in the U.S. exchange program through TOMODACHI and the Australia exchange program through the KIZUNA project, and he would like to study international relations in the future to become a global leader.
“With the generous support of many individuals and BEYOND Tomorrow in mind, I will be sure to make the most of my ten days in America. I believe that the opportunities I’ll have to meet leaders and attend lectures in America will, like the program I attended in Australia last summer, provide excellent examples for my future. I hope that the lectures will help me discover my true interests, so I will try my best to learn as much as possible. Also, although the trip is only ten days, I chose it because I would like to improve my English communication skills, and I intend on studying as much as possible in preparation for the trip. Since this will be my last trip abroad as a high school student, I hope to use this opportunity as a final test of all the English I’ve learned up to this point.”
Shun Sato (M)
City of Origin: Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture
Miyagi Agricultural High School
Shun lost his mother and home in the tsunami. To this day, he cannot forget the pain and remorse, but his thoughts changed one day, helping him move forward. “I should not look at things that are not there, but focus on things that I have now.” He believes that because of his devastating experience, he can fully dedicate his energy into the recovery of Tohoku. He believes that his education at the Agricultural High School will help raise awareness and provide solutions to radiation issues on agricultural products and seawater damages in the fields, which he would eventually like to communicate to the world as one of the issues affecting the Tohoku region. Shun will participate in this program in pursuit of leadership skills, with passion to help the people of Tohoku toward recovery through action.
“On this summer program, I will go to California. For the past three years since the disaster hit Tohoku, I’ve been trying my best to help with recovery efforts. Tohoku has not fully recovered yet. In cooperation with local authorities, many of us at my school have started growing agricultural products to help speed up the recovery process. I hope to raise awareness about what we are doing to help Tohoku recover and about the circumstances in Japan. I am still young and unknowledgeable, but I hope that by broadening my horizons through learning about other cultures, I can better contribute to recovery efforts at home.”
Ena Kanno (M)
(BEYOND Tomorrow/TOMODACHI Special Scholar)
City of Origin: Sukagawa, Fukushima Prefecture
Waseda University, School of Commerce
Following the shock of the disaster Ena has experienced moments of feeling completely powerless, but he also feels that he has been able to develop a sense of gratitude and the determination to take action. In the summer of 2012 Ena did a short-term exchange at the University of California Berkley, during which time the entrepreneurial spirit of the U.S impressed him. He believes that the contribution young people can make to the recovery of the disaster areas can be achieved by fulfilling their dreams and becoming active members of the global society, as in doing so new energy can be generated for the Tohoku region. Ena has resolved to establish a business in the IT field, an area in which he has had a lasting prior interest. He hopes to create a service that through the medium of the internet can have a significant impact on the real world.
“I’m currently working on a project with a friend, which is making me a better leader. There are three reasons why this trip to America will be meaningful to me. First, I will learn from leaders in a country where people from all around the world are gathered. Second, I’ll be able to use the lessons I learn as soon as I return home. Since I know exactly where I want to apply those lessons, I’ll be able to better focus my learning while in America. Finally, if I want to be a leader who can have an impact on the world, America is a key country, since it is the leader of the world. I’m sure that going there and experiencing the culture will leave me plenty of food for thought for my future.”
Ayumi Takahashi (F)
(BEYOND Tomorrow/Chikara Funabashi Special Scholar)
City of Origin: Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture
Sophia University, Department of English Studies
At the time of the disaster, in which her house was destroyed by the eathquake, Ayumi was studying in Canada. When she described the damage done to her hometown her school began fundraising activities, and in addition to being moved by this positive response she also realized the importance of personally engaging in proactive communication. After returning to Japan, she participated in volunteer activities in Minami Sanriku, and made speeches on the current situation in the Tohoku disaster areas and the significance of volunteer activities at two English language speech contests, where she was selected as a finalist. In the future Ayumi would like to work for JETRO, assisting with building systems for development and facilitating mutual support between Japan and other countries.
“In the future, I hope to create some sort of system which will benefit Japan and foreign countries alike. My biggest goal is to share the beauty of Tohoku with the world. To do that, I must first understand my audience. I hope that by understanding other cultures, I can create more opportunities to share the beauty of Tohoku with others. Further, on this trip, I hope to learn what problems exist in the context of Japan contributing to the world. I will use this trip to experience first-hand the lessons I’ve learned as an international relations major in college. I hope to use my skills to lead cutting-edge efforts to solve global social problems.”
- Europe Program:
- Airbus Japan K.K.
- U.S. Program:
- Great East Japan Earthquake Recovery Initiatives Foundation, Japan Society, United States-Japan Foundation, U.S.-Japan Council