January 30, 2015
In early January 2015, three TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship recipients participated in a week long corporate training at the New York head office of Sumitomo Corporation of Americas.
Last year, Sumitomo Corporation together with the TOMODACHI initiative, a Japan-US exchange project directed by the US Embassy and the US-Japan Council, established a four-year TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholars Program providing scholarships to high-achieving university students with financial need to enable them to study abroad for one year. Sumitomo Corporation's support is aimed at helping to develop globally-minded young leaders who will serve as active bridges between Japan and the United States. Three Japanese university students were selected to participate in the first round of the new scholarship program. For the last year, they have been studying abroad at US universities.
In New York, we set up opportunities for exchange with young employees of Sumitomo Corporation of Americas and had an overnight homestay at the homes of three SCOA executives. They visited Hartz Mountain, a SCOA subsidiary engaged in the pet care business, as well as the United Nations Headquarters, and the Museum of the City of New York. They also had an opportunity to meet with Professor Hugh Patrick of Columbia University's Center on Japanese Economy and Business. In Washington DC, they had a meeting with Irene Hirano Inoue, Founder and head of the US-Japan Council, and they had conversations with persons active in a variety of communities, including the Japanese embassy, US Congressional staff, and NGOs.
On the final day of the corporate training, the three students met with Kazuhiro Takeuchi, president and CEO of Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, and said, "in the time spent in the this training, they were given opportunities to speak with people in various lines of work, such as diplomats and private-sector companies, and we were able to get a glimpse of how society is working. We would like to put this experience to good use in the future. We have learned and experienced things that will help us to become better people, capable of contributing not only domestically but internationally as well." In response to this, Takeuchi encouraged the three: "Through this time's program, I want to see exchange promoted between Japan and the US as well as globally, and I want you to serve as bridges."
The TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship Program is now in its search for its second round of students and is presently soliciting applications for the 2015-16 semesters. At the end of June 2015, a repatriation report meeting for the first-round students is scheduled. We look forward to the day that the students who participated in this program play an active role on the future world stage.
The three scholarship students, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas President and CEO Takeuchi (far left) and EVP and CFO Tomokazu Nambu (far right).
Meeting with young employees of Sumitomo Corporation of Americas. A variety of agenda items were discussed in English.
In-person meeting by US-Japan Council Founder Irene Hirano Inoue with students.