5 Key Takeaways from Week 1 of Building the TOMODACHI Generation Morgan Stanley Ambassadors Program

Building the TOMODACHI Generation Morgan Stanley Ambassadors Program Students visit the World Bank

This past Sunday, February 24th, marked the halfway point of this year’s Building the TOMODACHI Generation Morgan Stanley Ambassadors Program.

Japanese students who have demonstrated an interest in leadership training, cross-cultural exchange and entrepreneurial approaches to addressing social changes embarked on an intensive two-week program.  At the conclusion of week one, students got to experience several only-in-D.C. moments, as well as hear from a variety of speakers who are experts in their fields.

Here are our top 5 highlights from this past week.

  1. At the beginning of their journey to becoming the newest leaders of the TOMODACHI generation, participants heard from Laura Winthrop Abbot, Senior Vice President and COO of the U.S.-Japan Council. Her introductory remarks began with the genesis of the TOMODACHI Initiative in the aftermath of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, and the importance of the U.S.-Japan relationship.

  2. Participants engaged with more than 30 professionals from across nonprofit, for-profit and governmental sectors, learning the importance of civil society through a variety of lectures, panels and site visits to institutions around D.C

  3. The Parliamentarian for the U.S. House of Representatives, and alumnus of The Washington Center, Thomas Wickham, welcomed the Japanese program participants to the House floor on February 22nd for a discussion on the history of the House and the importance of an educated and engaged electorate in civil society.

  4. During a panel discussion on the importance of civil society infrastructure, nonprofit leaders Irene Hirano (U.S.-Japan Council), Glen O’Gilvie (Center for Nonprofit Advancement) and  Anita Plotinsky (Foundation Center) shared their insights with our student participants. The panel focused on the importance of developing infrastructure within civil society that allows nonprofits to thrive and achieve goals that otherwise would not be addressed. Additional topics included the importance of professionalization and experience within the nonprofit sector, the necessity of governmental policies that allow nonprofits to get off the ground without excessive regulatory burdens and the responsibility of nonprofits to recognize community resources that already exist.

  5. Japanese and U.S. students spent a full day in Frederick, Maryland engaging in team-building and leadership training at an outdoor adventure course. Together with their project teams, they completed a series of physical challenges that required strategizing, teamwork and communication that set the stage for the project development activities scheduled for the next day.

Week one of this year’s TOMODACHI Generation Morgan Stanley Ambassadors Program was a rousing success, and set the stage for a promising closing week. Visit our FLICKR album to view photos from week 1.

The program is a partnership between The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC), in Washington, D.C. and the U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI), and is administered by TWC. The program is funded solely by Morgan Stanley through the U.S.-Japan Council’s TOMODACHI Initiative. Between 2014 and 2016, prior to establishing the Ambassadors Program, Morgan Stanley joined with the Fund for Exchanges sponsors (Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, and Hitachi, Ltd.) to support phase one of this program.

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