(PRWEB) July 16, 2012
Ayusa International, a San Francisco non-profit that promotes global learning and leadership through cultural exchange, study abroad and leadership programs for high school students, today announced that 300 Japanese high school students from the earthquake and tsunami affected areas of Tohoku, who have been selected to participate in the TOMODACHI SOFTBANK Leadership Program, will be coming to the Bay Area in one week.
The three-week program will take place on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley from July 23 to August 10, 2012. The program will be funded by SOFTBANK Corp., a large telecommunications company in Japan run by Chairman & CEO Masayoshi Son, a 1980 graduate of UC Berkeley who majored in economics.
All 300 students will receive full scholarships to participate in the program, developed in partnership with the UC Berkeley Center for Cities and Schools. Of the 300 students, 200 girls and 100 boys, 70 students are from Iwate prefecture, 125 students are from Miyagi prefecture and 105 students are from Fukushima prefecture.
“My life has changed completely since the tsunami hit my hometown of Otsuchi,” said Kenta, an 18 year old high school student from the town of Otsuchi in Iwate prefecture. “The tsunami took away my grandparents, my friends and everything that I loved about my hometown. Though I no longer live in Otsuchi, I am always thinking about what I can do to help those who are still there. I believe the TOMODACHI initiative will help me find ideas on how to bring people back to my hometown, and help it recover from the tsunami. My dream is to one day create my own business in my hometown.”
In March 11, 2011, the eastern coast of Japan, known as the Tohoku region, was hit by a devastating 8.9 magnitude offshore earthquake and subsequent 23-foot tsunami, killing thousands and causing widespread destruction.
In response to this disaster, the TOMODACHI initiative was created as a public-private partnership led by the U.S. Embassy in Japan and the U.S.-Japan Council (a non-profit), supported by the Japanese government. TOMODACHI, which means “friendship” in Japanese, supports Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake, and invests in the next generation of Japanese students, to strengthen cultural and economic ties and deepen the friendship between the U.S. and Japan. The initiative conducts a variety of programs that focus on student exchanges, virtual exchanges, leadership development, and fostering entrepreneurship.
The three-week curriculum at UC Berkeley will involve discussions on global leadership and community service, and students will develop individual community service action projects to implement in their home communities. In addition, the students will be participating in a variety of events including:
“We are thrilled to be welcoming the TOMODACHI students to the U.S. and look forward providing them a combination of educational, practical and fun activities over the coming weeks,” said Sherry Carpenter, executive director of Ayusa. “We are confident that through the TOMODACHI initiative, the students will return to their communities as empowered leaders ready to help their communities rebuild for the future.”
Ayusa is responsible for all operational aspects of the program, including recruiting the students through its office in Japan and administering the program in the U.S., including pre-arrival orientation, curriculum development, local activities, and recruiting local American host families who will host the students for the weekend of August 3-5, 2012.
Ayusa International (http://www.ayusa.org) is a non-profit organization founded in 1981 to promote global learning and leadership through cultural exchange, study abroad and leadership programs for high school students from the U.S. and around the world. In addition, Ayusa administers multiple high profile grant programs funded by the U.S. Department of State and other organizations.