The Japan Foundation Prizes for Global Citizenship (2018)

This year marks the 34th anniversary of the establishment of the Japan Foundation Prizes for Global Citizenship in 1985. In its 34 year history, 106 organizations have been awarded. The Japan Foundation Prizes for Global Citizenship is intended to support organizations located throughout Japan that endeavor to strengthen networks among citizens both Japan and abroad, and to share knowledge, ideas, and expertise through intercultural exchange.

The Japan Foundation Prizes for Global Citizenship was established under the name of the Prizes for the Promotion of Community-Based Cultural Exchange, and renamed as the Japan Foundation Prizes for Global Citizenship in 2005.

In 2018, of the 97 organizations that applied or were nominated for the prizes, the following three organizations were selected as awardees. The recipient organizations were presented with the main prize (a certificate) and prize money of 2 million yen per organization.

Awardees (in geographical order)

Komatsu Summer School Executive Committee

(Komatsu City, Ishikawa)

Representative
Stephane E. Fouche
Year of Establishment
2013
Website
http://komatsu-ss.main.jp/kss/
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Activity Outline

Komatsu Summer School is run by college students from Princeton University, Tufts University, London University, the University of Tokyo, Waseda University, Kanazawa University, among others and provides a seven-day overnight summer program for Japanese high-school students. During the school term, KSS offers various programs including discussion seminars where students learn college-level liberal arts content conducted in English; forums to learn a way of life through talks by working-adult mentors from a variety of backgrounds; experiencing traditional culture by participating in activities in the city of Komatsu; and Sustainable Development Goals workshops to learn about the global challenges we face.

A number of high-school students are not familiar with expressing their thoughts in English, so they tend to look nervous at the beginning of the program. However, by the time the last day is approaching, they have become more active in the conversations. Other than English language, the young participants face a variety of problems, which sometimes cause them worry or interfere in their discussions. It is impressive how they break down these barriers.

Reasons for the Prize

Launched in 2014, Komatsu Summer School is a college student-led summer school for high school students held annually in Komatsu, Ishikawa Prefecture. Nearly every aspect of the program is planned and run by Japanese and American college students. Each year, 60 high school students from the local community and all across Japan join together for enriching interaction through activities such as liberal arts seminars, professional forums, and local cultural experiences.

Komatsu Summer School is an exemplary endeavor that introduces high school students to the value of international exchange by providing them with the opportunity to engage with people of different ages and diverse cultural backgrounds. In addition, the summer school has created a virtuous circle that cultivates new generations of young people in the community who are eager to pursue international exchange, as evidenced by the many past participants who return as college students to serve on the Executive Committee. We present the Japan Foundation Prize for Global Citizenship to the Komatsu Summer School Executive Committee with the hope that it will continue to evolve as a role model for other community-based international exchange programs run for youths by youths.

Comments from the Awardee

We thank you so much for selecting us as a recipient of the Japan Foundation Prize for Global Citizenship 2018.
Komatsu Summer School was able to continue its activities because of the strong passion of the college students from Japan and the United States, who run this committee, toward education and international exchange, as well as companies and everyone who voluntarily support the program. We continue to foster a number of high school students to meet their mentors and role models and find triggers to their ways. “Find Your Way!”

Hamamatsu Global Human Resources Support

(Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka)

Representative
Hisano Hori
Year of Establishment
2011
Website
http://www.globaljinzai.or.jp
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Activity Outline

Hamamatsu Global Human Resources Support works for foreign residents in Japan on employment issues and also supports college students in their social-engagement activities. In keeping with our motto “people are regional assets,” we work toward the realization of our society to the place where people can live enjoyable lives in their own way in safety.

We offer a “care worker introduction course” program for foreign residents to help develop care workers, as a certified care-worker training center in Shizuoka Prefecture. We provide Japanese-language education for foreign technical-intern trainees at Japanese-language classes for a variety of companies. In addition, we offer suggestions and guidance for local college students with the aim of cultivating them to be personnel resources able to act in the global arena with an international vision.
Based on these activities, we also provide a number of lectures across the country. For each project, we work together with public administrations, private companies and universities to develop and realize diversity in local communities.

Reasons for the Prize

Hamamatsu Global Human Resources Support provides occupational support to international residents of the Hamamatsu area, including by developing original educational materials and curricula for them, and by offering instruction in the job skills and Japanese-language communication competencies needed to engage in caregiving occupations. Their broad spectrum of activities also includes supporting college students’ efforts to contribute to the community, assisting local caregiver union programs, and nurturing friendly ties with people in other countries as one way of making Hamamatsu an attractive place for international job seekers.

Recent amendment of Japanese immigration laws has resulted in the creation of new statuses of residence that will go into effect in April 2019. These are expected to increase opportunities for foreigners to work in Japan, accompanied by their families. However, more work needs to be done at the community level to develop a sufficient environment for taking in immigrants. Hamamatsu Global Human Resources Support, through its diverse activities, has set an admirable precedent for addressing those inadequacies. At the same time, it places its focus not on simply having Japanese people assist international residents, but on developing an environment where foreign residents can take on leadership roles in the community. It is for these commendable efforts that we present them with the Japan Foundation Prize for Global Citizenship.

Comments from the Awardee

We are honored and delighted to have been awarded the Japan Foundation Prize for Global Citizenship. Looking back, we caused anxiety to people around us, yet they always warmly encouraged and supported us. At the time we established this organization, we were full of worries and wondering each day if we could continue our activities. However, foreign residents who obtained the certificate of care worker and college students, who came and stayed at our office as if it were their home, always helped us with their smiles. An amendment of Japanese immigration laws has resulted in the creation of a new status of residence that we feel was like the wind that follows a new wave.
Upon receiving this prize, we hope that more and more people will recognize our organization, as it can contribute to Japanese society. We would like to thank all of you from across the country for your cooperation.

Pangaea

(Kyoto City, Kyoto)

Representative
Yumiko Mori
Year of Establishment
2003
Website
http://www.pangaean.org
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Activity Outline

TPangaea runs an internationally recognizable education program available worldwide. It has developed a platform where children can meet and communicate with each other by using information and communication technologies. Pangaea has been implementing Global Citizenship Education for 16 years, ever since it was registered as a non-profit organization in 2003. The education is included in Goal 4.7 of the current Sustainable Development Goals. Under the name of “Piece engineering,” Pangaea develops its original ICT tools in collaboration with research institutions such as Kyoto University to cultivate children around the world so they can develop networking connections fairly and democratically.

TWe continue our activities to nurture children as “global citizens” who can enjoy diversity and express themselves from the other side’s perspective, regardless of nation, culture, religion, economics or social conditions.

Reasons for the Prize

Pangaea operates an ICT-based platform for facilitating engagement and communication among children around the world. It hosts a summer school program and diverse activities for children at activity sites across the globe. Through a dedicated Internet environment, children at one site can play games and create artwork with peers at sites in other countries.

One of the more fascinating aspects of Pangaea is that it uses a set of 450 pictograms called “Pictons” as a medium of cross-cultural communication, rather than forcing the children use a particular common language. It also employs “Gengoro,” a machine translation system that can simultaneously translate input into multiple languages. Pangaea’s commitment to using communication modes that avoid hierarchies disadvantaging the speakers of any given language is one way that it carries out its mission of nurturing compassion in children.

We bestow the Japan Foundation Prize for Global Citizenship upon Pangaea to honor the high quality of their innovative international exchange activities founded on compassion-inspiring communication tools developed with the power of ICT, and to encourage their further growth.

Comments from the Awardee

Since 2003, we have developed our own workshops and tools for information and communication technologies. We have been supporting children at the grassroots level to enjoy diversity and express themselves from the other side’s perspective, regardless of nation, culture, religion, economics or social conditions.

We continue our activities through contributions from a number of individuals worldwide including volunteers and supporters, as well as through cooperation with organizations including companies and institutions in research and education. We are greatly honored to receive this prize. We would like to use this occasion to develop our activities on a more sustainable worldwide basis. Thank you very much.

[Contact Us]

The Japan Foundation Prizes for Global Citizenship Secretariat

The Japan Foundation Communication Center
Tel: +81-(0)3-5369-6075 FAX: +81-(0)3-5369-6044
chikyushimin@jpf.go.jp
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