TOMODACHI Sumitomo Students Gather in NYC for a Spring Break Leadership Program

Pictured above: Suzanne Basalla and Fred Katayama with the 11 TOMODACHI Sumitomo Scholars in New York. Photo Credit: Sumitomo Americas.

With the world health situation improving, this year, we were able to welcome the TOMODACHI Sumitomo scholars for the first time since the pandemic.

On March 8, Executive Vice President Fred Katayama visited the office of Sumitomo Corporation of America to meet with our 11 TOMODACHI Sumitomo Scholars for a luncheon session in New York City. The TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship program offers undergraduate students from 12 partner universities in Japan the opportunity to study abroad at universities across the United States. This year’s cohort hailed from cities across the United States including San Diego, California, South Bend, Indiana, Waco, Texas and Madison, Wisconsin. The students boasted a wide range of interests and disciplines. To learn more about the TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship Program, please click here.

USJC President and CEO Suzanne Basalla joined virtually to provide an introductory address to the students. With the students asking well-informed and aspirational questions, the discussion was truly an inspiring representation of the next generation of Japanese invested in the U.S.-Japan relationship. The discussion covered the origins of the U.S.-Japan Council, including Suzanne’s role in the creation of the TOMODACHI program as well as tough topics such as gender discrimination in the workforce, immigration challenges for Japan, and security questions in light of the war in Ukraine with Russia.

We would like to thank our generous partners at the Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, including Jewelle Yamada, who has stewarded this program and has embodied the support from the Sumitomo Corporation.