American Orientation for the 66th JASC began on Wednesday, July 30th as delegates flew, drove, and even walked to Des Moines, IA! The diverse delegation coming from across the U.S. took over the Des Moines International Airport for several hours on Wednesday. There, delegates began bonding and learning each other’s names. After travelling to host university Grinnell College, the delegates’ first day together was filled with introductions, ice breakers, and learning the history of JASC.
On Thursday, American delegates had their first Roundtable (RT) meeting in person, and heard their first lecture from David Yepsen. Mr. Yepssen is currently the director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, after a 34-year career as a political journalist with the Des Moines Register. He is an expert on the presidential caucus campaigns, having covered the Iowa caucus for 9-cycles. He spoke to the American delegation about the caucus system, his personal experience, and the future of the American presidency. He was extremely gracious, taking over 45-minutes to answer questions from the delegation.
After the lecture from Mr. Yepsen, two delegates were awarded for their outstanding essays in the annual RT paper essay contest! The delegation then worked together to prepare their skit for the Japanese delegation, which will be presented upon their arrival to the U.S.
The last day of AO, Friday, August 1st, began with RT discussion time, followed by a presentation on networking by the American Executive Committee. The delegates learned key differences between networking in Japan and the U.S., tips for being confident while networking, and guidance on how to take networking to the next level by building and maintaining the relationship over time. They were then given time to practice with one another. After some free time in downtown Grinnell, the American delegation reflected upon their time in Iowa so far, and prepared for the arrival of the Japanese delegation on Saturday.