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News - Youth For Understanding USA

Latest news about Youth for Understanding USA student exchange programs worldwide – Events – Partnerships.

YFU to Welcome 1,000+ Japanese Students to U.S. for Weeklong Exchanges


Youth For Understanding and Japan International Cooperation Center partner to introduce Japanese students to the U.S. as a part of the Government of Japan’s Kakehashi Project

Washington, DC (September 7, 2016) – Youth For Understanding USA (YFU) and the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE) have partnered to welcome more than 1,000 high school and university students through a program for weeklong short-term exchanges in multiple U.S. cities. First introduced in 2013 the Kakehashi Project is a youth exchange initiative spearheaded by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and coordinated through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan to further increase mutual understanding between the peoples of Japan and the United States.

The students and schools selected to participate in this prestigious program will serve as citizen diplomats between Japan and the U.S., learning to appreciate differences and embrace similarities. Simultaneously, these future leaders will form life-long networks and relationships, while also broadening their perspectives and developing leadership competencies necessary to meet the challenges and embrace the opportunities of a fast-changing global community.

Participant groups will include students from all across Japan. Students will begin arriving in November 2016 and continue through March 2017. Six primary U.S. cities – Seattle, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Detroit, and Washington, DC – will host the majority of the groups. Ten additional cities, where there is a high school reciprocity arrangement between U.S. high schools and their Japanese counterparts, will be announced at a later date.

Established in 1977, JICE has worked for nearly four decades to support the growth of human resources by sharing knowledge and experience, for our world and for the future. Since the launch of the Kakehashi Project in 2013, JICE has been involved in the promotion of international exchanges between Japan and the United States through invitation and dispatch programs of exceptional persons from both countries. According to JICE President, Sachiko Yamano, “By partnering with YFU in 2016, we look forward to further strengthening Japan-U.S. relations, and becoming a bridge – a Kakehashi – ourselves as well."

YFU President Michael E. Hill hailed the new partnership as a sign of YFU’s overall growth strategy.  “We are honored to partner with JICE on this important citizen engagement program,” Hill said. “Japan was one of the first YFU partners shortly after our founding, and this program is an important link toward continued and expanded ties between the people of the United States and Japan.”

Heading this new initiative is veteran YFU team member Mamiko Hada. In this new role she will serve as Program Director for JICE, providing program oversight and design.  

“YFU USA is excited to enter into this joint cooperation with JICE. I am extremely fortunate and quite proud to announce Mamiko Hada has agreed to take on the role as Project Director in our work with the Kakehashi project,” said David Barber, YFU USA Vice President of Programs. “I have no doubt that Mamiko will continue to demonstrate the excellent approach to collegial customer support and service that has exemplified her tenure with YFU in other capacities. I have every confidence that the JICE staff will enjoy her vigor and careful attention to detail, which will make this an excellent experience for the participants, volunteers and staff in both Japan and the United States who collaborate on this unique opportunity. We are looking forward to hearing some of the amazing stories that we know will come from this endeavor!”

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About YFU
For learners of all ages who want a life-changing cultural exchange experience, Youth For Understanding (YFU) offers a wide range of opportunities to see the world up close. The global YFU network, consisting of partners in more than 70 different countries, is united by the belief that curiosity about the world expands cultural awareness and acceptance of other ways to live, which leads to broader perspective and greater understanding.

YFU’s unique intercultural exchanges open minds and hearts, enable learning that transforms lives, change the way you see the world and help to overcome stereotypes. Selected to administer more government and corporate scholarships than any other high school exchange program, YFU has remained a trusted leader of intercultural exchange programs since 1951 because of its commitment to safety, reputation for quality, and exceptional support services. 

YFU advances intercultural understanding, mutual respect and social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth, families and communities. 

For information about exchange opportunities with YFU, including scholarships, hosting an international student, volunteering, or community cultural tours please call 1.800.TEENAGE or visit

About JICE
The Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE) has been involved in various international cooperation activities mainly for developing countries since its establishment in 1977. JICE’s primary work includes the management of international training courses entrusted by ministries and agencies including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), universities, local governments, public and private organizations, international organizations and foreign governments; youth exchange programs, program assistance for students from overseas, dispatching interpreters, Japanese language lessons, supporting conventions, seminars and projects, and operation of supporting developmental education. The organization contributes to the development of not only developing countries but also international community through the implementation of the activities for strengthening mutually beneficial partnership between foreign countries and Japan. With the motto “Share knowledge and experience. For our world. For the future”, JICE links “Japan’s technology, knowledge and experience” to the world and promotes development of future global leaders by deepening mutual understandings and learning together with the people in the world. Along with a staff of 254, JICE has 1087 translators who specialize in 31 languages and engage in formulation, investigation, research, implementation and evaluation of projects by using their accumulated experiences and knowledge. Visit to learn more.