Weeklong Learning Journey in Tohoku in August 2012

Japan for Sustainability announces call for student applicants for weeklong Learning Journey in Tohoku in August 2012 (a "Learn toCreate in Tohoku" project) (Tokyo, April 19, 2012).  Japan for Sustainability (Chief Executive Junko Edahiro) is putting out the call for students who wish to participate in a learning journey to Tohoku in August 20-26, 2012. The Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, caused catastrophic damage in northeastern Japan, particularly in the three prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima. One year later, rehabilitation and reconstruction work continues in the affected areas, but it is now clear that true recovery will take much longer than originally anticipated. During the recovery process, for years to come, it will be important for children to continue having hopes and dreams, for youth to acquire and apply leadership skills for the reconstruction, and for people to share what they learn with the world while improving the recovery processes in the Tohoku region. 
Japan for Sustainability is a non-profit organization created in 2002 to disseminate information on developments and activities originating in Japan that lead toward sustainability. It has launched three "Learn to Create in Tohoku" projects with funds raised by Nipponkoa Insurance Co. (President/CEO Masaya Futamiya), which will take a deeper look at the current situation in Tohoku, to support children in fostering their hopes for the future, and to develop youth leadership for the recovery efforts
One of these projects is a "Learning Journey in Tohoku", in which JFS invites six students from overseas and six local students to form a learning group to go through personal as well as collective transformational processes. The purposes of the learning journey are to support the personal development of students, to harvest learning gained through students' eyes and communicate to the world, and to offer new perspectives on how Tohoku can recover faster and more effectively. In our first learning journey, we will choose sites mostly in Miyagi prefecture, which is closest to the epicenter of the earthquake and has many coastal cities and villages that were the most devastated by the tsunamis. The project aims to offer students both from Tohoku and other parts of the world a learning journey about the situation in the disaster- affected areas since the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, up to the present, while meeting in person and interviewing those who lived through the disaster and are working on the reconstruction. A facilitator experienced in the areas of systems thinking and learning organization will accompany the students, conducting dialogue along the way to draw out diverse points of view from participants and make their learning process a meaningful experience. At the end of the journey, participants will report on what they have learned during their time in the disaster areas, along with their hopes and dreams for creating a sustainable society.  Participating students will benefit from hands-on experiences through encounters with actual people and contexts they would not normally experience, diverse points of view within and outside of the learning group, and personal and group learning processes that allow them to explore their inner selves.  Additionally, the development of capacity for potential youth leaders will go a long way in designing more resilient social systems that will be needed for the recovery of Tohoku. JFS also hopes that learning harvested from the student experiences will provide important case studies for the world to be more resilient and sustainable. In turn, learning that occurs outside of Japan will give feedback and new perspectives to the Tohoku region and Japan.  
Interested persons are encouraged to apply after reading the application instruction in the following web link http://www.japanfs.org/tohoku/en/journey/pages/031864.html , by submitting the application form and the other required documents to Japan for Sustainability (info@japanfs.org) no later than May 20, 2012 (in Japan). Results of the selection will be announced by the end of May. Successful applicants are expected to obtain a visa to Japan (if required) and travel on their own to the nearest international airport in their home country. For inquiries: Japan for Sustainability http://www.japanfs.org/en/ 1-12-5-138 Mita, Tama-ku, Kawasaki, 214-0034 Japan E-mail: info@japanfs.org