2014 ISC Holiday Party

(From left to right) ISC Board Member Ashley Lam, KASC Program Manager Minjun Chen, JASC and KASC alumni Jose Pulido, and Assistant Director Chelsea Irvin at ISC’s holiday party

On December 2, International Student Conferences (ISC) held its annual holiday party at Pasara Thai in Washington, D.C. ISC Board members, alumni from the Japan-America Student Conference and Korea-America Student Conference, and supporters came together to celebrate ISC’s JASC and KASC programs, and to give back for Giving Tuesday. Festive live jazz music played in the background and delicious Thai appetizers circulated among the guests as they mingled and chatted, reminiscing about their fond memories of the programs.

ISC Board President Kristy Holch and ISC Executive Director Yuuki Shinomiya made remarks on the importance of building people-to-people connections through student-led programs like JASC and KASC. Special guests included Mrs. Nobuko Sasae, who is on the board of IEC, a partner organization in Japan for ISC, and also the wife to the Ambassador of Japan to the U.S.

It was also Giving Tuesday, a day to give back to your favorite organization, so many of the guests donated money towards ISC’s programs and operations. Contributors received a JASC/KASC t-shirt from the combined 120 years the programs have been running. The contributions helped set ISC on its way to raising $5,000 by the end of this year, with a matching $5,000 donation from the Nimick Forbes Foundation if the goal is reached.

Live musical entertainment was provided by DC’s beloved jazz trio, Superior Cling.

Jazz band Superior Cling playing at the holiday party

MM LaFleur Fundraiser

 On November 21, ISC, in conjunction with MM.LaFleur, hosted a panel discussion on women in entrepreneurship. ISC’s Executive Director, Yuuki Shinomiya moderated the discussion with Ms. Sarah LaFleur (JASC 58, CEO & Founder of MM.LaFleur), Ms. Nobuko Sasae (board member of International Education Center, ISC’s counterpart in Japan and the wife of Japanese Ambassador to the USA), Ms. Morgan Gress (Editor at 1776), and Ms. Hilda Staples(Entrepreneur & Restaurateur)
Attendees then had the chance to try on and purchase items from MM.LaFleur and 10% of the overall sales went to support ISC!

Third KASC Alumni Reunion Party

Since the first official reunion in 2012, I’ve attended all of the KASC alumni reunions. The third alumni reunion was held in a café near Hongik Univ. Station and was organized by the 8th KASC ECs.

I came in and registered, and then had the chance to mingle with and catch up with other KASCers. Then, we were separated into teams and started playing games. My team consisted of various members from each KASC and it was fun to meet alumni from many different years. The games were fun and teams received awards when they won. Although dinner was not provided, there were enough snacks, sandwiches, and Kimbap to enjoy. After all the main event was over, we moved to another location to talk more and enjoy drinks.

It was a great chance to build my network with new KASCers! It also makes me happy to see old friends again and getting to know new people is exciting as well. I couldn’t attend this year’s final forum in Seoul so I didn’t know any of the new KASCers from the 7th. However, the reunion was a perfect chance to mingle with them and keep the bond strong as KASC alumni. I hope more and more KASCers can come to the next reunion party!

~Yoonjung Carol Choi (KASC 4 & 5)

A New Generation: Greetings from the 8th KEC Chair

Looking back on the unforgettable moments of 7th KASC, my experience made me grow and mature, and deeply affected my thoughts and attitude toward my life.

The 7th KASC had a huge positive impact on me. While spending a month with the 49 other delegates, I naturally, but at an astonishing speed, learned from and took in the strengths and virtues the other delegates possessed. We shared our ideas and experiences with one another in settings ranging from academic, to personal and professional. The 7th KASC created the perfect environment for me, enabling me to grow and become more mature without an exhausting struggle.

Next year, the 8th KASC will be held in the U.S. in July 2015 with the Theme of “Global Communication: Fostering Growth through Global Interface.” Delegates will travel to four sites: Sacramento, CA, Angola, IN, Philadelphia, PA, and Washington, D.C. while sharing perspectives on the assigned RT topics, hearing RT-related lectures from eminent speakers, and engaging in cultural exchange with other delegates. As the 7th KASC was for me, the 8th KASC will be a unique opportunity for delegates to develop themselves both academically and personally.

The Executive Committee is working hard on planning the 8th KASC. We are recruiting heavily now, and are emphasizing adding even greater diversity to the 8th KASC, reaching out to applicants from different backgrounds and embracing differences among delegates. Furthermore, we are focusing on the academic aspect of the KASC, striving to further improve this aspect to add depth to the 8th KASC. The ECs are planning a well-balanced conference in terms of lectures and activities related to each roundtable and will work on useful guidelines for RT times both before and during the conference to facilitate RT time efficiently and professionally.

All the ECs including me are looking forward to meeting new 8th KASC delegates and making unforgettable memories of the 8th KASC in the States!

Third JASC-KASC Trilateral Symposium in 2015

In January 2015, International Student Conferences (ISC) will implement the 3rd JASC-KASC Trilateral Symposium, bringing together 24 JASC and KASC student leaders from the US, Japan, and Korea to discuss the future and cooperation of the three countries. The students will discuss three topics that are timely and relevant for the US, Japan and Korea: security alliance, immigration, and urban sustainability and challenges. The goal is to give voice to the younger generation and demonstrate their ability to overcome the issues of the past and have a productive and forward-looking dialogue on U.S.-ROK-Japan relations.

The students will be divided into three groups with each focusing on one topic, and will discuss these issues in depth with each other from January 5-7. These discussions will culminate in presentations and recommendations for cooperation on the topics during the Trilateral Forum on January 8, 2015.

To RSVP to the Forum, please click here.

History of Trilateral Symposium

JASC and KASC have been contributing to strengthening the United States’ bilateral relationship with Japan and Korea by promoting friendship and understanding between future leaders of each country. In 2013, ISC launched a new initiative to engage JASC and KASC future leaders in a broader conversation on the regional issues that surround the United States-Japan-Korea trilateral relationship.

ISC’s first trilateral symposium, “Joint Student Symposium: Fostering the U.S.-Korea-Japan Partnership for the Future,” was held on June 6, 2013 and brought together subject matter experts, the student leaders of JASC and KASC, as well as DC-based university students and young professionals. The event was such a success that ISC held the second annual JASC-KASC Trilateral Symposium on January 30, 2014. Due to a generous grant, ISC was able to bring Korean student leaders to Washington, DC for the Symposium. This second Symposium had a much larger audience, and was marked by the instant chemistry and bonding that took place between JASC and KASC students.

Now, ISC is in the midst of planning the third JASC-KASC Trilateral Symposium. This Symposium has the opportunity to be truly trilateral: student leaders from the U.S., Japan, and Korea are all planning to attend. The symposium will create a “safe forum” in which students are able to speak about sensitive issues and share ideas on how the youth in the three countries can build stronger trust and personal ties in order to better understand each other.

Topics for Trilateral Symposium

The student leaders from Korea, Japan and the US, in consultation with ISC, will discuss the following topics relevant to the future of the US-Japan-Korea relationship:

Security Alliance:  Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of ROK-Japan relations. Despite shared security problems, including the North Korean nuclear threat, historical and diplomatic tensions have often been stumbling blocks preventing cooperation between the three countries. The U.S., ROK and Japan should establish a solid security alliance and community built upon confidence and trust to overcome barriers between the three countries, and coordinate a response to the pressing security issues in the region.

Immigration: While immigration policies differ in Japan, United States, and South Korea, many have agreed that the current structure is imperfect and reform is necessary. Through comparing each country’s unique situation and current policies on immigration, the US, Japan and Korea can note successful methods and where they can tailor best practices to restructure their own immigration systems and better incorporate minority groups into society.

Urban Future and its Challenges: In all three countries, the majority of people now live in cities like Seoul, Tokyo, New York, which are social and cultural epicenters. However, urban dwellers and planners in these cities face challenges such as overcrowding, extreme depopulation of rural areas, sustainability, and development. By contrasting how major cities in each country are meeting these challenges, the US, Korea and Japan can examine the future of urban living in these countries and the role of cities in each country’s overall development.

US Embassy Seoul – KASC Scholarship

The Korea-America Student Conference (KASC) is delighted to announce that a US Embassy Seoul – KASC scholarship will be awarded to four Korean students who are accepted as Korean delegates to the 8th Korea-America Student Conference. The scholarship will cover the full $3,500 conference fee for students to attend the conference. The conference fee covers roundtrip airfare from and back to Seoul, housing and board, transportation between each of the sites, ground transportation within each site, and all conference-related activities for the entire month-long conference.


Scholarships will be granted to Korean students who are enrolled as full time university students in a degree program in Korea. Undergraduate and Masters students are eligible to apply.  Candidates should be highly motivated students who demonstrate leadership through academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate or submit proof of financial need. Priority will be given to students from under-represented sectors of society, including North Korean defectors, students with disabilities, and students from regional areas outside of Seoul.

All candidates should be proficient in English so that they can be active participants in the academic program.

No previous experience with Asian Studies is required.

Required Application Materials

In addition to the online application, transcript, resume, personal statement, and roundtable essays, students applying for the scholarship should submit:

- Statement of Financial Need

Please describe your background and any circumstances that demonstrate your financial need. Maximum 300 words.

Additional documents that should be included if applicable:

-  Family registration document

-  Documents that indicate low income eligibility

-  Disability identification card

-  North Korean defector registration certificate

Selection Process

  1. All application materials for the 8th KASC including the statement of financial need should be submitted online or emailed to kasc@iscdc.org by the January 2, 2015 deadline.
  2. Applications will be reviewed and candidates for interviews will be contacted by the 8th KASC Korean Executive Committee by the middle of January.
  3. Acceptance emails for the Korean delegation will be sent by ISC in the first week of February.
  4. Statements of financial need will be reviewed from the eligible pool of accepted Korean students. The four scholarship recipients will be notified by ISC on February 15, 2015. Recipients must notify ISC of their acceptance of the scholarship and participation in the delegation by February 28, 2015.

Passing the Torch: A Sign-off from the 66th AEC Chair

Anna Zeng, 66th AEC Chair

It is hard to believe that the 66th Japan-America Student Conference ended almost two months ago! I used to think that life after being a JASC EC would be a breeze, but—as most alumni would agree with me—that is never quite the case. In a way, JASC trains you to be driven; it ignites an engine just keeps on going, wherever life leads you next.

I find myself in such a spot.

JASC gave me a chance to dedicate myself to one activity for a year. When it ended, there was a sigh of relief, a hint of bitterness, and a lot of tears. A year ago, I had never imagined what planning JASC could entail. A year later, I say with confidence that this process has taught me more about myself, more about the world, and more about life than any other activity I have done thus far.

Still, it is difficult to articulate exactly what has changed in my life post-JASC. Perhaps, it is that I am more aware of my own weaknesses and strengths. Or perhaps, it is that I am more inclined to work in a team. While filing all of the different ways I have benefited from JASC, I have come to see JASC as wine—the longer you taste it, the better it gets.

When JASC suddenly ended on August 24th, I found myself in disbelief and excitement. My mind could not grasp the scope of what had happened. I only knew that I would miss my fellow ECs so much! Since then, many people have asked me how I felt about the conference. I have given answers like, “It was hard, but it was good”; “I am so grateful that my ECs and I have become like a family!”; “I wish I had talked to the delegates more”; “Overall it was successful!” But I knew that no matter how much I tried to convey my feelings for the 66th JASC, it would never come out quite right. There is something about this past year that is beyond verbal expression.

Two months later, I am still lingering in the aftertaste of JASC.

These days, when I walk in the cold breeze of Baltimore, I always think of the blazing Tokyo sun and the murmurs of cicadas. That is my memory of the 65th JASC—it has almost become like a physical reaction. I cannot recall any of the lectures I listened to or any of the speakers I met (except a few of course). All I remember is this warm feeling of being surrounded by 71 other college students, who were just as curious, just as eager, just as excited, and just as tired as I was, for an entire month traveling to places whose names I could not even pronounce. There were surely tears, jokes, laughter, conflicts, and growing pains. But recently they have all become a blur in my head. My experiences in both 65th and 66th have somehow blurred together into an impressionist painting. I have to zoom out just to get a glimpse of what it all means.

The moment Yohei, my co-chair, and I announced the 67th chairs, I was sure that something inside of me was being built—it was a defense mechanism to hold me together. A year worth of anticipation, excitement, anxiety, growth, and battles is now moving past me to the next JASC ECs. My time in JASC is over. Our time in JASC is over.

I am sure that was when it all became a blur. The hour-by-hour schedule became a blur. The meal menus became a blur. The ECs’ struggles became a blur. My regrets for the conference became a blur. But maybe this blurry picture is not that bad. It is perhaps a blessing to view JASC that way. Details are not the most important anymore. The 66th ECs and I can now sit back and look at the whole picture.

We can now enjoy the aftertaste.

In the meantime, JASC moves on! Even with ambivalent feelings for my own JASC experience, I am proud to voice my faith in the 67th ECs. They are a strong, hardworking team. October is a difficult month for them because that is when the initial excitement ebbs and the flood of responsibility rushes forth. There will come a time when every detail is important, every activity needs a back-up plan, and every dollar/yen needs to count. Clarity now belongs to the 67th ECs. For them, this will be a year full of challenges and growth. But this journey is worth it.

I cannot wait for the day when they can join the 66th ECs in viewing this impressionist art and tasting this wine that is JASC!

A New Generation: Greetings from the 67th AEC Chair

Hannah Jun, 67th AEC Chair

My name is Hannah Jun. I’m a junior at Smith College, and I am currently studying abroad at the London School of Economics. My majors are Government and Economics. Before participating in the 66th JASC, I was initially unsure about the type of experience I would have. However after a month of intense discussions with students from all around the world, intellectually stimulating lectures from successful individuals from different backgrounds, and amazing fieldtrips across the United States, I can say that I am supremely grateful for JASC. JASC gave me the space for personal and academic self-reflection and growth. I made life-long friendships with people I never would have met otherwise and was challenged in my beliefs and perspectives. Because of this rewarding experience, I am very honored to have been elected to the Executive Committee of JASC 67th as the American Executive Chair.

It’s only been two months since the end of JASC 66, but the Executive Committee has been hard at work planning conference and recruiting for JASC 67. In Japan, my counterpart Jumpei Matsui is has been leading the Japanese Executive Committee which consists of Shawn Yajima (Arts and Science, University of Tokyo), Luis Michel Montano (Integrated Human Studies, Kyoto University), Shiori Okazaki (Law, Keio University), Ryosuke (Pepe) Suzuki (Commerce, Meiji University), Isshu Fujii (Law, Aoyama Gakuin), Marino Mori (Law/Political Science, Gakushuin), and Sae Murai  (Liberal Arts, International Christian University). On the American side, we have Takeshi Hidaka (Cinema & Media Studies, Carleton College), Isaac Min (Int’l Relations, University of Southern California), Takuo Koyama (Business, Whittier College), Harrison Bade (Communications, Villanova University), Lisa Kanai (Psychology, DePauw University), Ken Covey (Int’l Business/Finance, University of Hawaii at Manoa), and Sakura Takahashi (Psychology/Computer Science, Duke University).

JASC 67 will be hosted in Japan in four sites: Hiroshima, Shimane, Kyoto, and Tokyo. Since it is Japan year, the JEC are working hard on site coordination, fundraising, recruiting, and other important programming. On the American side, the AEC are hard at work recruiting the most competitive and diverse delegation possibility. With a multi-pronged recruitment strategy that includes a new social media strategy, we hope students all over the country find out about JASC and apply by December 31, 2014.

I am so excited about JASC 67 because of the amazing people in the Executive Committee and the vision we have come up with together. JASC 67 will facilitate intense discussions on war and peace in Hiroshima, regional revitalization and population change in Shimane, culture and history in Kyoto, and the economic center of Japan in Tokyo. Our roundtable topics will also produce much thoughtful debate with topics like Religion as a Means, Religion as Meaning; Security and Non-Traditional Threats; Society and Inequality; Media in the 21st Century; Educational Approaches Today and Tomorrow; Global Eco-Hazard and Resource Sustainability; and Power and Responsibility in the Business World.

With half of our AEC studying abroad this year, we have literally been communicating across the world to bring you the best JASC possible. JASC alums old and new have reached out to provide support and show us that JASC doesn’t end with the conference. The physical distance doesn’t matter, and any challenges that we come across can be overcome together. Through my JASC experience, I have learned the power of a community. When people come together with the same goal, anything is possible.

JASC in San Fran!!

Delegates arrived in San Francisco on Wednesday August 6, where they were hosted by The University of California, Berkeley!

The delegation hosted a Diversity Symposium, where they heard a lecture about immigration trends, both historically and currently, in the U.S. and Japan from Berkeley professor Keiko Yamanaka. Dr. Yamanaka is a sociologist and a continuing lecturer in the Departments of Ethic Studies and International & Area Studies at Berkeley Her lecture was followed by a panel discussion featuring Britton Watkins (JASC 40 & 41), Madeline Adkins (JASC 40 & 41), and Josh Feldman who spoke about their experiences being openly gay living and working both in Japan and the U.S. Mr. Watkins has been living as an out gay man since his early 20s in both the U.S. and Japan. He is an independent consultutant in market strategy research and communication strategies for companies like Adobe, Fujitsu and Sony. Ms. Adkins has held positions in many different fields throughout her career including in the corporate world with companies like Sony, Intel and Safeway, and in academia, teaching at CU Boulder and Berkeley City College. Mr. Feldman is a creative director focusing on user experience strategic design. He has been legally married to Mr. Watkins (also on the panel) for six year. Each panelist shared their personal stories, which were inspiring, and led to a meaningful question and answer session with  the delegates.  Shortly following the Diversity Symposium, the delegates had their annual talent show, where Amedeles and Japadeles worked together to show off their talents!

JASC 66 had a monumentally successful homestay weekend from August 8-10. Delegates stayed with alumni and their friends throughout the Bay Area, experiencing the culture, sights, and food of Northern California.

With the help of JASC alumnus Jon-Michael Durkin, JASC 66 also had the opportunity to tour Google’s Mountain View campus and participated in a creative-thinking workshop.  The delegates loved seeing Google’s Android Garden, and experiencing the unique work environment at Google.

JASC alumnus Allen Miner hosted JASCers at Harkone Gardens, the oldest Japanese estate in the Western Hemisphere, for a Japanese culture night. The delegates enjoyed a variety of Japanese culture including Nagashi-Somen (catching floated noodles in cut bamboo shoots with chopsticks), Shodo (Japanese calligraphy), and Senkou Hanapi (summer sparkler tradition).

To wrap up their stay in San Francisco, JASC 66 spent a day taking RT Field Trips. Each RT had a unique experience and was able to explore a different aspect of their RT.

Please visit JASC’s Facebook and Flikr pages to see photos from all of these great events, and more!