On August 11th, the 64th JASC delegation met with over 200 high school students from the Tohoku region in Japan. The high school students were participants in the Softbank Operation Tomodachi Summer Leadership Camp, a three-week program at the University of California Berkeley involving leadership training, cultural activities, homestay, and lectures. More information about the program can be found at the Consulate-General of Japan’s website.
JASC delegates engaged in roundtable discussions during their meeting with the high school students focused on a theme of youth empowerment in times of crisis, particularly youth involvement in Japan’s recovery from the 3/11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. The high school students reflected on their experience in the U.S. and their plans for becoming active leaders upon their return. Both delegates of JASC and the Softbank Operation Tomodachi Summer Leadership Camp shared their vision for the next generation of leadership in Japan.
Students from both delegations came away from the discussions with new ideas and a renewed sense of purpose. As the U.S. Department of State and U.S.-Japan Council have advocated, grassroots programs like JASC and the Softbank Operation Tomodachi Summer Leadership Camp are taking the next step in building a “Tomodachi Generation” of youth in Japan and the U.S. This meeting served to form strong ties between the youth of both countries and in establishing mentorship between college and high school students. More information about the effort to create a “Tomodachi Generation” can be found on the U.S. Department of State Website, blogs.state.gov.