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Japanese American Leadership Symposium Empowering Civil Society for the Future of Japan

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Japanese American Leadership Symposium
Empowering Civil Society for the Future of Japan reconnecting with japanese americans
 -beyond 100 years of emigration-

Organized by: The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP)
Co-organized by: US-Japan Council, Sendai-Miyagi NPO Center
Supported by: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, U.S. Embassy, Tokyo, Sendai International Relations Associations

The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP) organizes the Japanese American Leadership Symposium as part of The Japanese American Leadership Delegation Program (JALD) organized by Ministry of Foreign Affairs (find out aboutJALD). This year's theme is titled “Empowering Civil Society for the Future of Japan”.

Nearly a year has passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011. The recovery process in the Tohoku region has now shifted from the emergency relief stage to the mid to long term rebuilding phase. To ensure a sustainable and effective recovery, it will be necessary to develop its strengths and resilience of individual citizens in order to create a solid foundation for the civil society sector and forge new cross-sectoral collaborations with government and/or business.

We will invite three Japanese American leaders who contribute greatly both in their respective fields of work and community, to explore the role of civil society in the rebuilding process and possible collaborations between the US and Japan.

Date & Time:

Monday, March 5, 2012 15:00~17:30


Hagi Hall, Sendai International Center
Aobayama, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi Pref.

*Admission Free
*Simultaneous Translation Provided


15:00-15:10 Opening Remarks
15:10-15:55 Session I “Community Ties: Message from the Japanese American Society”
15:55-16:05 Break
16:05-17:30 Session II “Moving Forward: Energize Japan from Tohoku”
17:30 Closing
18:00-20:00 Reception
HIDEYUKI INOUE, Founder of Social Venture
Partners Tokyo / Associate Professor of Keio University
IRENE HIRANO INOUYE, President, US-Japan Council
<Panelists from JALD>
Barbara Hibino, CEO and Founder, OpenWebU, Inc.
Mark Mitsui, President, North Seattle Community College
Susan Onuma, Partner, Kelley Drye and Warren LLP
Paul Watanabe, Associate Professor, Department
of Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Boston
<Panelists from Japan>
Akiko Benimura Sendai-Miyagi NPO Center
Masako Inaba President, Yui net Co., Ltd.
Kazuma Watanabe Representative Director, Wakatsuku Association

Please RSVP with a REPLY FORM (PDF:114KB) via Fax (03-5369-6042) by Thursday, March 1st, 2012.
*Your personal information including your name and affiliation will be used only for the registration procedure of the symposium.

<Contact about the Symposium>
The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership
Tel: 03-5369-6072FAX: 03-5369-6042
(When sending an e-mail, please enter a half-width character "@" instead of a full-width character "@.")

■ Biography of Participants

Hideyuki Inoue
Founder, Social Venture Partners Tokyo Japan and Associate Professor, Keio Unviersity, Graduate School of Media and Governance

Photo of Hideyuki Inoue
Mr Inoue joined ETIC (Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities), a nonprofit organization in Tokyo, and started the annual “Style” prize in 2002, Japan's first social venture business plan competition for the younger generation. He also established a fund called the “Social Venture Partners Tokyo,” where individual partners contribute their time, knowledge, and funding in order to nurture social entrepreneurship. There are currently more than 90 partners in the fund. SVP Tokyo became Social Venture Partner's first affiliate outside of North America in October, 2006. As a professor at Keio University, he teaches theoretical and practical classes about social entrepreneurship. He also launched the “Social Innovator Course” at the Graduate School of Keio University. Mr Inoue was nominated as one of the Young Global Leaders 2009 by the World Economic Forum, and in 2010 he became a member of the “Round-table of New Public Commons,” an advisory committee for the Prime Minister on social Innovation, initiated by Prime Minister Hatoyama. He is a graduate of Keio University, and received his Master's Degree in International Affairs from George Washington University.


Irene Hirano Inouye
President, U.S.-Japan Council

Photo of Irene Hirano Inouye
Irene Hirano Inouye is President of the U.S.-Japan Council, a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., dedicated to building people-to-people relationships between the United States and Japan. She is the former President and founding CEO of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, a position she held for twenty years.A recipient of bachelor's and master's degrees in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, Ms. Hirano has extensive experience in nonprofit administration, community education and public affairs with culturally diverse communities nationwide.Ms. Hirano's professional and community activities include serving as Chair, and Trustee Ford Foundation, Trustee and immediate past chair, Kresge Foundation; Trustee, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Trustee, Washington Center, and Trustee, Independent Sector.She is married to U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii. Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: paternal side from Fukuoka, maternal side from Tokyo.


BARBARA HIBINO (San Francisco, CA)
CEO and Founder, OpenWebU, Inc.

Photo of Barbara Hibino
Barbara Hibino is the CEO of OpenWebU, Inc., an internet company that provides an online platform for education and training.The company currently hosts classes in continuing medical education, accounting, and other topics.While at OpenWebU, after-hours Ms. Hibino worked as Vice President of Marketing for OptaMotive Inc., which developed technologies for electric vehicles.Before that, she was the Director at Oracle, Applications for nine years where she oversaw a team that created applications for the public sector. Ms. Hibino is the N! Leadership Network Founder, Vice President of Membership and the author of their newsletter.N! Leadership Network is a group of Japanese American entrepreneurs and executive management that strives to create networks and connections between the U.S.-Japan.She holds a Ph.D. from the Stanford University School of Education and an M.S. from Ohio State University in Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology.Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: Aichi-ken.


MARK MITSUI (Seattle, WA) President, North Seattle Community College
Photo of Mark Mitsui
Mark Mitsui is the President of North Seattle Community College, where he is responsible for establishing a strategic vision and achieving objectives that involve internal and external community building, advancing student success, excelling in teaching and learning, budget development and accountability, fundraising, and supervision of approximately 560 employees and approximately 11,200 students.Prior to this position, Mr. Mitsui was the VP of Student Services at South Seattle Community College, and was the Assistant Dean of Student Services at Green River Community College.He is the Chair of the Asian American Pacific Islander Association of Colleges and Universities, and is involved with the National Asian Pacific Islander Caucus as a part of the American Association of Community Colleges.Mr. Mitsui is studying for his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, and holds an M.A. from the College of Education, University of Washington.Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: paternal side from Nagano, maternal side from Kumamoto.


Partner, Kelley Drye and Warren LLP

Photo of Susan J. Onuma
Susan Onuma is a partner and co-chair of the Asia Practice Group of Kelley Drye and Warren LLP, where she advises Japanese corporations and individuals on how to navigate the complexities of the U.S. legal system and succeed in the marketplace.In particular, Ms. Onuma specializes in establishing and nurturing new businesses and joint ventures and has developed a sub-specialty in the area of employment law and cross-cultural communications.She is also on the firm's Diversity Committee and has participated in the Global Organization for Leadership Development (GOLD) symposiums given in Tokyo, Japan.In 2008 Ms. Onuma was named one of Top 50 Women in Business by NJ Biz Magazine.She is currently Corporate Secretary and Board Member of the U.S.-Japan Council, Corporate Secretary and legal counsel of the Japan Society of New York, a member of the Board of Trustees for the Japanese American National Museum, and is the Honorary President and a member of the Board of Directors for the Japanese American Association (JAA) of New York.Ms. Onuma holds a JD from University of Pennsylvania Law School and BA in East Asian Studies from Barnard College (Columbia University.)Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: paternal side from Fuji, Shizuoka-ken, maternal side from Kobe, Hyogo-ken.


Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Photo of Paul Watanabe
Paul Watanabe is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.He is also the current Director of the Institute for Asian American Studies at the university.He has conducted extensive research and has published books and articles on the relationship of ethnic Americans to their ancestral lands and has presented talks in Kyoto, Nagoya, and Tokyo.Dr. Watanabe also serves as the Vice Chair of the Race and Ethnic Advisory Committee (Asian Population) for the U.S.-Census Bureau, and sits on the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts.He is the current President of the Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund and a member of the U.S.-Japan Council.Dr. Watanabe received his Ph.D. and his M.A. in Political Science from Harvard University.Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: Aichi.


Akiko Benimura
Director, Sendai-Miyagi NPO Center

Photo of Akiko Benimura
After working in TV production, Ms. Benimura worked as a copywriter in advertising production. While working in advertising, she became interested in NPO’s and participated in NPO workshops and seminars such as the “Sendai NPO Workshop.” In November 1997, Ms. Benimura spearheaded a movement to create the “Sendai-Miyagi Center.” She plays a crucial role in collaborating the business, NPO, and government sectors through “Sendai CARES,” “CSR Seminars,” and “CSR promotion clinics”.  At the same time, she is instrumental in holding exchanges about CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) in local communities and the impact of it on community revitalization.


Masako Inaba
President, Yui net Co., Ltd.

Photo of Masako Inaba
Until2000, Ms. Inaba worked as an instructor and general staff member of the personnel and sales departments in a company supplying computer systems to medical institutions. She worked in Osaka, Tokyo and Sendai. In September, 2000, she founded Yui net (now Yui net Co., Ltd.) in Sendai which provides IT, business, and job-related training. To encourage the careers of working women, Ms. Inaba published a free magazine called “Actaleia.” She is currently working on a project entrusted by Sendai city which supports starting businesses in the community. In 2009, Ms. Inaba proposed “manabi-tabi,” where the goal is to learn from local resources such as agriculture, fishery and community-building activities to supplement educational training. In June 2011, in order to commercialize the above activities and to provide projects supporting disaster affected areas, she founded Tabimusubi Co., Ltd.
Ms. Inaba was born in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture. She graduated from the department of English Studies, School of the Arts, Kyoto Women’s University. She is currently a student at Department of Business and Project Planning, Miyagi University Graduate School.


Kazuma Watanabe
Representative Director, Wakatsuku Associationn

Photo of Kazuma Watanabe
Mr. Watanabe was born in Kakuda, Miyagi Prefecture. He entered Miyagi University in 1997, where he created various activities and organizations. When he graduated in 2001, Mr. Watanabe incorporated the student club “Dunamis” into an association. He worked to teach entrepreneurship through young people’s participation in business. Since the Great East Japan Earthquake, he works to coordinate efforts between civil society sectors and business/government sectors and produces platforms which lead to effective collaborations. In fall 2011, he started a general incorporated association, Wakatsuku, which supports the challenges of young people working toward the revitalization of the Tohoku region.  His aim is to create a network which will produce young people equipped with entrepreneurial skills.


The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership
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