For 25 years, Sidwell Friends School has sent four of its sophomores and juniors, three students from area schools, and one Sidwell Friends faculty or staff member to Japan for approximately three or four weeks during July and August. The program is sponsored by Mikio Kanda, president of the U.S.-Japan Culture Center. Its mission is to help students learn about the culture and history of Japan and to foster cross-cultural friendships. Activities vary each year but in previous years have included home-stays in Tokyo, a visit to Hiroshima, and some time in Kyoto. The group is accompanied by English speaking Japanese university students who have been involved in the planning of the program. In preparation for the visit, the faculty chaperone and students study the Japanese language and attend several evening orientation sessions.
On October 6, all Sidwell Friends participants of the 2010 Japanese Language and Culture Summer Study Program presented reports of their experience to the Upper School. Mr. Kanda and his wife Reiko, parents of SFS alumnae Yumi ’86 and Midori ’89, attended the assembly and were honored for their sponsorship with a tribute by Ellen Pierson, director of the program.
Pierson, who is executive assistant to the Upper School principal, has served as chaperone for two of the summer trips, coordinates logistics, and welcomes Japanese visitors. She is a strong supporter of the program and sees great value in the cross-cultural friendships that have developed over the years.
The program will be offered again for the summer of 2011.