Seattle Host Committee Members at the 2012 Annual Members Meeting.
Each year, the U.S.-Japan Council holds its Annual Members Meeting in conjunction with the Annual Conference. This second day of events provides an opportunity for U.S.-Japan Council Members, Friends of the Council, Associate Members and invited guests to amplify their engagement in Council activities as well as receive updates from the past year.
The Council maintains Strategic Working Groups in areas with high potential of collaboration between the U.S. and Japan. One of the priorities of the Annual Members Meeting is to allow the groups to convene and determine next steps. The working groups had two opportunities to meet throughout the day and then a representative from each group briefed the full membership during the closing session.
Currently, the Council maintains the following Strategic Working Groups: Education, Clean Energy, Women’s Leadership, Healthcare/Biomedical, Legislative Networking and Supporting the NPO/NGO Sector. The Clean Energy Strategic Working Group, for example, determined at the Annual Members Meeting that they would hold a technology showcase event in early 2013 in Northern California. Other groups began planning their work on detailed directories, meetings with Japanese counterparts or regional symposia.
Participants were welcomed to the luncheon session by the beats of the Seattle Matsuri Taiko group. The drummers were one example of the Council’s efforts to highlight musicians from the local Seattle community. During lunch, attendees learned how they can become more involved in TOMODACHI Initiative programming. Over dim sum and dessert, each regional membership chair provided an update about activity in his or her region. Representatives from Hawaii, Southern California, Northern California, Portland Oregon, Seattle, Colorado, Chicago, Texas, New York, Washington, DC and Tokyo described what Council Members had accomplished since the last Annual Members Meeting.
In addition to featuring report-outs from Strategic Working Group leaders, the closing session allowed representatives from the 2012 Emerging Leaders Program to share what they had learned throughout the weekend.
The Annual Members Meeting concluded with an informal networking reception at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. The museum was open to attendees throughout the reception, but it was difficult to peel guests away from the karaoke machine.