Reception to Launch "Building the TOMODACHI Generation"

Reception to Launch "Building the TOMODACHI Generation"

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Gregory Cosgrove
September 09, 2013

Last week, The Washington Center (TWC) and the U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI) hosted the launch reception for “Building the TOMODACHI Generation,” an educational exchange program between Japanese and American university students on the potential of civil society and social problem solving. The reception was held at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. and had over 200 esteemed guests from across all sectors in attendance, including The Honorable Kenichiro Sasae, Japanese Ambassador to the United States, and representatives from corporate sponsors including—Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Morgan Stanley and Toyota.


Speakers at the event included:


  • Katsuichi Uchida, USJI President
  • Hideaki Mizukoshi, Embassy of Japan’s Minister and Head of Chancery
  • Irene Hirano Inouye, U.S.-Japan Council President
  • Mike Smith, TWC President
  • Pilar Mendiola-Fernandez, TWC Chief International Officer

All the speakers expressed their hopes for the program and emphasized the importance of cultural and educational exchange between the U.S. and Japan. Both Mike Smith and Pilar Mendiola-Fernandez provided closing remarks. Smith touched on the uniqueness of the "Building the TOMODACHI Initiative" program, which will give each university student the opportunity "to learn from experts and each other about the strong role civil society and cross-sector partnerships play in innovating solutions to societal challenges that require collaborative effort." In addition to students getting to working with one another, they "will also have dialogues with thought leaders and organizations from both countries to learn about the infrastructure needed to support a strong civil society." Mendiola-Fernandez expressed what it means to recognize such a strong partnership between the Japan and the U.S. In addition to creating an environment for "innovation through collaboration that is essential to overcome the challenges of today and tomorrow," she also echoed how important it is that the program will strive "to endow these future leaders with both the tools and inspiration to return home…and work across sectors to improve the lives of those in their communities."


“Building the TOMODACHI Generation” is part of the U.S.-Japan Council’s Tomodachi Initiative and is supported through the generous contributions of Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Morgan-Stanley. The program would like to thank the attendees, the sponsors, and all other involved parties for their continued support.


[Celebrating the Launch of "Building the TOMODACHI Generation: A Partnership to Engage U.S. and Japanese College Students in Social Problem-Solving," a Two-Week Seminar in Washington, D.C. Press Release]

[View photos of the event on our Flickr channel]

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