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JUSFC Meet Our Grantees Series: International Student Conference/Japan-Student American Conference
August 28, 2017
Eighty-three years ago, before World War II, students concerned about the relationship between the United States and Japan created the Japan-America Student Conference (JASC). JASC is a student-led exchange that allows young people from each country to spend a month together learning, growing and finding new ways to build the bilateral relationship.
In 2008, the Korea-America Student Conference began, which
then led to the creation of a parent organization, International Student Conferences (ISC). Both programs work to identify future leaders for the Asia-Pacific region to expand interest in and strengthen relationships between the countries.
JUSFC recently spoke with ISC’s Executive Director Linda Butcher. Butcher says the mission and values of JUSFC and ISC-JASC are closely aligned, both working to strengthen the U.S.-Japan partnership through education, culture and intellectual conversation. “As an institutional grantee, we’re very fortunate to have JUSFC’s support. These relationships are stronger because that financial support allows us to continue the conversation,” Butcher adds.
JASC is the first and oldest student-led exchange program. Benefits of participating include professional growth, leadership skills development and increased cultural understanding.
“The confidence that the students gain through speaking opportunities is inspiring,” Butcher says. The program helps expand communication skills and gain insight beyond media headlines and stereotypes. Alumni report the program changed their life and many continue to stay engaged with the U.S.-Japan relationship.
This year, JASC is hosting its 69th conference, bringing together 72 Japanese and American students of all backgrounds and perspectives. Host cities include Tokyo, Kyoto, and first-time host prefectures Ehime and Mie.
A major JASC 2017 conference theme is identity. Seven roundtable discussions will focus on international relations, environmental issues, urban planning, health, media morality and more. Students will meet with government and academic leaders, as well as participate in culturally immersive community service projects.
ISC-JASC hopes to continue innovating, such as creating and sharing videos that better showcase student experiences. “Especially now in this age of social media and video content, prospective students and others want to hear and see someone’s experience, rather than just read about it,” Butcher explains.