Cultural Vistas' Kizuna Project: Opening Doors for Japan's Revitalization through International Exchange

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U.S.-Japan initiative aims to provide life-changing experiences for Japanese students affected by 2011 disaster.

Kizuna is a Japanese word meaning a connection or bond that unites a group of people.

Cultural Vistas recently welcomed 55 Japanese university students and recent graduates to the United States as part of the Kizuna Project a unique international exchange program that aims to promote understanding of Japan's reconstruction and recovery after the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Kizuna is a Japanese word meaning a connection or bond that unites a group of people. It is an expression that exemplifies the very essence of this initiative and the cultural and social outcomes it seeks to achieve.

Funded by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA), the Kizuna Project is providing fully-funded opportunities for individuals either from or who have volunteered in the regions directly affected by the March 11, 2011 disaster to study English, complete career-focused internships, and share their experiences in the United States.

Related feature: Kizuna Fellows Remember 3/11

The aim of the Kizuna Project is three-fold: to deepen the understanding of Japan's renewed spirit among U.S. citizens; to build on the strong people-to-people ties between the United States and Japan; and to foster a global perspective among the next generation of youth through six-month immersion experiences.

The Kizuna Fellows arrived in the New York City and Washington, D.C. areas this past weekend and are set to begin two-plus months of English language instruction and cultural training prior to embarking on three-month internships with host organizations across the country.

While many exchange programs focus solely on one developmental area —such as academic study, professional training, or cultural tourism— the successive phases of the Kizuna Project provide a range of opportunities for personal and professional enrichment, as well as to enhance understanding of U.S. culture.

Cultural Vistas' Kizuna Project is part of a larger initiative including exchanges between Japan and countries that have supported its disaster relief efforts.

The Kizuna Project is administered in cooperation with The Laurasian Institution, The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, Japan International Cooperation Center and Japan-U.S. Educational Commission.

Cultural Vistas maintains a longstanding relationship with Japan and seeks to strengthen this bond as it forges ahead with efforts to establish new and enduring partnerships. Since 1990, Cultural Vistas has worked together with global partners to exchange and connect more than 2,000 Japanese and American students and young professionals with opportunities to enhance their careers and promote a global perspective.

For more information on the Kizuna Project, visit

About Cultural Vistas
A non‐profit organization, Cultural Vistas has facilitated professional exchange programs and services for visitors coming to the United States, and Americans seeking overseas experiential learning opportunities, since 1950.

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Anthony Naglieri
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