The following is a summary of the breakout session "The Making of the TOMODACHI Generation" at the 2014 U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference on October 10, 2014.
- Mr. Todd Guild, Senior Director, McKinsey & Company, Inc. (moderator)
- Ms. Aki Marceau, Land Use and Sustainability Manager, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program, 2014)
- Mr. Casey T. Miyashiro, Junior, University of Hawaii (TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program, University of Hawaii, 2014)
- Mr. David Nakanishi, Freshman, University of Hawaii (TOMODACHI-Rainbow Program, 2014)
- Ms. Ayaka Ogita, Junior, Tohoku University (TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholars Program, 2014)
- Ms. Chihiro Saito, Program Officer, Good Neighbors Japan (TOMODACHI NGO Leadership Program supported by J.P. Morgan, 2014)
Mr. Todd Guild of McKinsey and Company started the session with an overview of future plans for the TOMODACHI Initiative, looking ahead to the Olympics and the year 2020 as the next benchmark. TOMODACHI is planning to focus on supporting programs along a spectrum of cross-cultural development, with a particular emphasis on exposure and leadership development programs. One goal for TOMODACHI is to increase the number of people in the TOMODACHI Generation Network to 20,000 by the start of the Tokyo Olympics.
Panelists included American and Japanese alumni from a variety of TOMODACHI programs - Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program, Inouye Scholars, Rainbow for Japan Kids, Sumitomo Corporation Scholars, Emerging Leaders and the NGO Leadership Program supported by J.P. Morgan - representing diverse educational levels and types of programs. The alumni briefly described their program and shared what big ideas they gained from the experience.
As an Inouye Scholar, University of Hawaii student Mr. Casey Miyashiro learned about the role of Senator Inouye in helping with the Ehime Maru disaster that occurred off the coast of Hawaii in Feb. 2001. Moreover, his summer 2014 visit to Japan on the program helped him narrow down a general interest in studying law, to include work with the State Department. Ms. Chihiro Saito of Good Neighbors Japan spoke about how spending some of her childhood years in South Carolina introduced her to U.S. History. After graduating from college and completing a Master's Degree in International Law, she joined the NGO Good Neighbors Japan. After participating in the TOMODACHI program for NGO leaders, she's noted a growth in self-confidence and her crisis management skills, all of which have served her well on assignments in Chad, Vietnam, the Philippines and China. Underlying all the remarks and comments by TOMODACHI alumni was a sense of being inspired, and a broader feeling of wanting to do more to help bring people together.
Click here to learn more about the 2014 Annual Conference.