Ambassador Kennedy Praises TOMODACHI Women

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy congratulated the 58 women of the TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program in a conference at the Hotel Okura on April 12. Launched in 2013 in both Tokyo and Kansai, the 10-month mentorship program pairs highly motivated Japanese female university students with Japanese female mid-career professionals.

“To the mentors and mentees, I applaud your initiative and your commitment to each other and to the process of empowering the next generation,” Ambassador Kennedy said. “We are all teachers and students in our lives, and the lives we touch will be changed forever, and those gifts will be passed on to others. So thank you for taking the time to teach, inspire and invest in the next generation.”

The Ambassador also encouraged online viewers watching through a Google livestream to apply for the program’s next cycle. In addition to Tokyo and Osaka, the program is expanding to include Fukuoka and Naha in 2014. The TOMODACHI Initiative currently is accepting applications on its web site. The deadline for applicants is May 7, 2014.

The TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program aims to encourage networking and leadership development for a select group of Japanese women who promise to play an important role in the future of U.S.-Japan relations. Participants attend regular group sessions hosted by the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulates that provide training in leadership development and financial empowerment.

As a final component of the program, 25 mentees recently spent eight days in the United States to meet with leading American women from the business, education, and government sectors. Trip participants are eligible for a micro-loan through the program to execute their own projects strengthening local communities in Japan.

About the TOMODACHI Initiative

The TOMODACHI Initiative is a public-private partnership between the U.S.-Japan Council and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Born out of support for Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake, TOMODACHI invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges as well as leadership programs. We seek to foster a “TOMODACHI generation” of young American and Japanese leaders who are committed to and engaged in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations, appreciate each other’s countries and cultures and possess the global skills and mindsets needed to contribute to and thrive in a more cooperative, prosperous and secure world. TOMODACHI Initiative Website: http://usjapantomodachi.org.