Annual Report 2019-2020 - UWC ISAK Japan

2019-20 Academic Year


This report is our opportunity to inform and inspire our global community. Here, you will find highlights of the 2019-20 academic year and updates on how we have pursued our unique school mission.

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    Leadership Insights


    Message from the Chair

    Every year is special in its own way, but 2019-2020 will definitely be a year that we will never be able to forget. We were hit by an historically powerful typhoon at the beginning of the school year, and then the coronavirus pandemic, which threw us off of our ordinary course of operation and impacted the lives of all members of our community in significant ways.

    During both times, I was reminded that true leadership thrives on challenges and that authentic leaders are those who can turn adversity into opportunity. Not only our Founding Head of School, Rod Jemison, but also many of our students, staff, and faculty demonstrated this quality throughout these unprecedented times.

    We are also deeply obliged to so many of our supporters who extended their generous and genuine help and care to the school and its students when we were in need. I still recall moments when those contributions arrived at our door (or our email inboxes), which even today bring me to tears. We never take those gifts for granted, and we are committed to delivering what we stand for.

    I, on behalf of the Board of UWC ISAK Japan, will promise you that we shall stay tightly together regardless of where all of our community members might be physically, and come out at the other side of this (seemingly) long tunnel even stronger - with our resilience, empathy, creativity, and optimism.

    “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.” --- Winston Churchill

    A Shared Mission


    At UWC ISAK Japan we empower each other to be transformational leaders who explore new frontiers and make a positive impact today and in the future.


    UWC makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.



    Of Students Received Financial Assistance


    Provided in Scholarships


    Students From 74 Countries


    Faculty From 14 Countries


    Staff From 9 Countries

    Year in Review


    Arrival Day

    Without fail, the day that our new students arrive on campus is one of the most exciting days of the year. For many, it is the day where they will first meet lifelong friends and mentors. For our staff and faculty, it is the culmination of years of work.

    Arrival Day 2019 shattered expectations as our student body surpassed 190 students from 74 countries. Once registration was complete and students had a chance to settle, the entire community enjoyed a special welcome ceremony featuring Miyota's famous dancing dragons. It truly was a day to remember.


    UWC Day

    September 21st not only marks the UN International Day of Peace, but it is also UWC Day, where the global UWC Community comes together to raise awareness of a particular issue.

    For UWC Day 2019, the theme was "Climate of Change." Students created a series of events, forums, and marches to discuss all sides of the climate change debate and consider ways to unite global citizens in addressing environmental issues.

    Watch the UWC Day 2019 video here.


    Typhoon Hagibis

    Ask our students what was the highlight of the year and many of them will tell you it was Typhoon Hagibis. It's not a response you would expect, especially considering the extensive damage wrought by the storm across Japan, including our own campus, where it knocked over nearly 50 trees and left us without power for over 90 hours.

    But it was also a catalyst for our community. It robbed us of many of the conveniences of technology, but it replaced it with the precious opportunity to connect and forge bonds. We realized how technology can be both a blessing and a trap. We talked with each other longer and deeper than ever before. We survived and were far stronger after having endured as a community.


    Year-End Party (with Charity Auction)

    On a beautiful November evening, we held our Year-End Party with 44 people attending, including founders, catalyst supporters, and their families & friends. Thanks to everyone's incredible generosity, we were able to raise more than 12 million yen through our auction.

    The event was another reminder of how special our community is the incredible group of supporters who continue to put their faith, love, and finances into our project.


    Winter Work Program

    Each year, our staff and partnering organizations work together to create short-term work opportunities for those students who are unable to return home over winter break.

    This year, our students joined opportunities locally and across Japan at locations as far as Tokyo, Yamagata, and down the coast in Fukui.

    To learn more, please see Hasan's (Class of 2021 / Libya) first-hand account of his winter work program experience with Nihon M&A Center.


    International Day

    We welcomed over 100 guests from the local Karuizawa community to celebrate International Day. It is one of the most colorful days of the year at UWC ISAK Japan as many of our students and staff came decked out in attire that represented the more than 80 countries and cultures we have on campus.

    Our students set up information booths about their countries, held a fashion show, and conducted performances that showcased their amazing talents and help to educate us all on the value of international diversity.

    Go here to view our International Day video.


    Corona Crisis & Remote Learning

    Seemingly overnight, schools around the world have shifted from regular face-to-face learning to remote learning. What makes the UWC ISAK Japan experience unique is we also have students from around the world, which brings with it a whole extra set of challenges, including operating across all time zones and dealing with sometimes unreliable internet.

    But thanks to our committed students, dedicated faculty, and supportive staff and parents, in true ISAK fashion, we have been finding a way. In these two posts about Dr. Mandy's and Adam Atkin's approaches, we see a small, but representative sample of how our teachers have been managing their classes, innovating their approaches, and, most importantly, how it is resonating with our students.


    Farewell Ceremony

    Considering all the adversity we have experienced this year as a community AND the incredible responses, we should dub this the "year of taking action in the face of discomfort." This is one of the ways we define leadership at UWC ISAK Japan, but we have never had so much opportunity to take action as we have had this year.

    And this is one of the many ways we will remember the Class of 2020: The resilient ones. In any case, they will certainly be remembered fondly. And so, while it may not have been the large scale ceremony we had originally planned for late May, and while the full Class was not able to attend, we held a modest, yet uniquely special ceremony to recognize the Class of 2020. We can't wait to see how these changemakers will help to change our world for the better. (View Photo Album; Video Ceremony)

    Furusato Nozei

    This program covers over 40% of our total operational costs, allowing us to support over 100 students in 2019-20. We are deeply grateful for all of our donors and especially humbled by the fact that 80% of our Furusato Nozei donors are repeat donors.

    Watch our Furusato Nozei video here.





    Student Voices

    Class of 2020 / Afghanistan

    Hamidullah Mubariz

    Growing up in Afghanistan and getting exposed all of a sudden to a totally new environment by joining UWC ISAK I had countless paradigm shifts since 2017. I have changed so much since joining ISAK and those changes are beyond the wildest stretches of personality, and I am sure those changes have shaped my life for good and would have not been possible without UWC ISAK Japan. The best lesson I have learned so far is never to underestimate the power of innovation and creativity and I will help others to realize it too.

    Class of 2022 / Japan


    Before coming to UWC ISAK Japan, I was homeschooling in a small town in Hokkaido in Northern Japan. Learning alone at home, I dreamed about sharing the passion for learning with friends and exploring new horizons in an environment where all members have different skills, experiences, and ways of thinking. Thankfully, I currently have all of these at UWC ISAK JAPAN thanks to a generous scholarship from the school. I will keep studying hard to make positive changes in the learning environments of children.

    Class of 2021 / India


    When I left my home in India in 2018, little did I know that my journey at UWC ISAK would be nothing short of transformational. ISAK has helped me transform in ways that I never could have dreamed of and most importantly has helped me realize my potential and find my ‘why’ in life which is ‘to 'help fix broken relationships through leadership based on service, sustainability, and peace’. ISAK helped light my passion for peace and conflict resolution and I will help create a positive change in the world by helping individuals realize their potential to be change-makers.

    New Faculty

    Adam Atkin



    Director of Admissions




    University Advising

    Michelle Rutter

    Chemistry, G10 Science





    Environmental Systems & Societies


    Information Science, Librarian


    Computer Science, Information Science


    Over an incredibly trying year, our parent community continues to put their faith in UWC ISAK Japan because they see the results.

    The students, parents, and school leadership and faculty and of course the founders and supporters and are incredibly diverse yet have been joined by a shared sense of seeking something beyond the standard path for education in their home countries. There is a strong sense that everyone wants to contribute toward realizing the school’s vision. I feel a bond with parents around the world who made the choice to be in this community.


    I am proud that my son attends UWC ISAK Japan because the all-round improvement I have noticed in him since he joined the school in August 2019 is simply indescribable. The school is more than home to my son.

    In this period of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, my son has been so much at peace that each time I called him, he will tell that he is ok and would even prefer to be in school. Wao! A student can only feel so if the school is home for him.


    My son has learnt to embrace diversity, be inclusive, appreciate multicultural groups and work with them efficiently. Importantly he has also developed a skillset in so many areas such as living harmoniously, being mindful of his actions, being on time and developing his academic abilities simultaneously. This, we are sure will take him far.


    I feel my daughter is part of something very unique and very special. There is definitely no school like ISAK in Japan and perhaps anywhere in the world. I believe both my daughter and my wife and I will leave the ISAK experience with great memories and lasting friendships.


    Going to UWC ISAK has been the best thing has happened in our son's education journey. In only half a year, we have seen how he has transformed into a more mature and considerate young man with a broader horizon of the world. As parents, we’ve also learned and transformed in one way or another through his sharing about school life. We truly appreciate this opportunity and what the ISAK community has offered as a big family with strong bonding. We have full confidence and trust in the school despite the challenges and difficulties going on globally. Thank you, UWC ISAK!


    Donor Recognition

    The generosity of our Founders, Catalyst Supporters, and donors who have made a life-changing education possible for students from around the world. Donations of every size support the mission of UWC ISAK Japan and we thank everyone who has contributed to our school. Please see the full list of our Founders and Catalyst Supporters HERE.


    Yasushi Ando Scholarship
    Junko Fukutake Scholarship
    Goh Family Scholarship
    Honjo Scholarship
    Tomonori Ito Scholarship
    Saori and Shinji Kimura Scholarship
    Akira Kosugi Scholarship
    Shigeru Sato Scholarship
    Makiko Suehiro Scholarship
    Goldman Sachs
    Hoppy Scholarship
    Ichigo Asset Scholarship
    Neuberger Berman Scholarship Fund
    YKK Holding Asia Scholarship
    W&M Solar Power Scholarship
    W.L.S. Spencer Foundation


    Takashi Oyagi Scholarship
    Canyon Capital Japan Scholarship
    HOPE Scholarship
    HSBC Group Scholarship
    Morgan Stanley
    Nomura Holdings Scholarship
    Proverbs 16:16 Scholarship
    Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Scholarship
    Project E-Right


    The Nippon Foundation Scholarship
    Davis-UWC Scholars Program


    Mizuho Financial Group, Inc.


    Agos Japan Corporation
    airweave, Inc.
    IDEO Tokyo
    LIXIL Group Corporation
    Morrison and Foerster, LLP
    Panasonic Corporation
    SECOM Co., Ltd.
    TMI Associates
    Yoshitomi Partners Accounting Office

    University Acceptances

    UWC ISAK Japan students have been matriculated to the following institutions (Classes of 2017-2020). Class of 2020 matriculations in bold.


    University of Melbourne
    University of Monash
    University of Queensland
    University of Sydney


    Concordia University
    Langara College
    McGill University
    Mt. Allison University
    Queen's university
    Quest University
    St. Thomas University
    Trent University
    University of Alberta
    University of British Columbia
    University of Guelph
    University of Toronto
    University of Waterloo


    International Christian University
    Kanazawa University
    Keio University, GIGA
    Keio University, SFC
    Kuwasawa Design School
    Kyushu University
    Musashino Art University
    Nagoya University of Commerce and Business
    Okayama Univeristy
    Ritsumeikan University
    Shibaura Institute of Technology
    Sophia University
    Tokyo International University
    Tokyo Zokei University
    Waseda University


    Amsterdam University College
    Erasmus University College
    Erasmus University, Rotterdam School of Management

    Hanze University of Applied Sciences
    NHTV Internationaal Hoger Onderwijs Breda
    Radboud University Nijmegen
    SAE Institute Netherlands

    Saxion University of Applied Sciences
    University of Amsterdam
    Utrecht University
    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


    Yale NUS


    Chulalonkorn University


    Middle Eastern Technical Univ.


    Abertay University
    Bath University
    De Monfort University
    Durham University
    Goldsmiths, University of London
    Imperial College London
    King's College London
    London Metropolitan University
    Middlesex University
    Solent University
    Swansea University
    The University of Edinburgh
    The University of Manchester
    The University of Sheffield
    University College London
    University of Aberdeen
    University of Bath
    University of Birmingham
    University of Brighton
    University of Bristol
    University of Essex
    University of Exeter
    University of Glasgow
    University of Leicester
    University of Northampton
    University of Southampton
    University of Surrey
    University of the Arts London
    University of the
    West of England Bristol
    University of Warwick


    New York University


    Albany College of Pharmacy
    and Health Sciences
    Azusa Pacific University
    Babson College
    Bard College
    Bates College

    Bennington College
    Bentley University
    Binghamton University
    Bowdoin College
    Boston University
    Brandeis University
    Brown University
    Bucknell University
    Carleton College
    Case Western Reserve University
    Chapman University
    College of the Atlantic
    Colorado College
    Connecticut College
    Cornell University
    Drexel University
    Earlham College
    Fordham University
    Furman University
    Hult International Business School
    Illinois Wesleyan University
    Indiana University Bloomington
    Ithaca College
    John Carroll University
    Kalamazoo College
    Lake Forest College
    Lewis & Clark College
    Loyola Marymount University
    Luther College
    Macalester College
    Massachusets College of Pharmacy
    and Health Sciences
    Methodist University
    Michigan State University
    Minerva Schools at KGI
    New York University
    Northeastern University
    Northwestern University
    Nova Southeastern University
    Oberlin College
    Occidental College
    Pennsylvania State University

    Pepperdine University
    Randolph-Macon College
    Ringling College of Art and Design
    Rochester Institute of Technology
    San Jose State University
    Santa Clara University
    Savannah College of Art and Design
    Seattle University
    Skidmore College
    Smith College
    St. John's College
    St. Lawrence University
    St. Olaf College
    Suffolk University
    The College of Idaho
    The George Washington University
    The New School
    The University of Oklahoma
    Trinity University
    Union College
    University of California, Berkeley
    University of California, Davis
    University of California, San Diego
    University of California, Santa Barbara
    University of California, Santa Cruz
    University of Chicago
    University of Florida
    University of La Verne
    University of Maine
    University of Minnesota Twin Cities
    University of Pennsylvania
    University of Redlands
    University of Richmond
    University of Rochester
    University of Southern California
    University of Victoria
    University of Washington
    Vanderbilt University
    Wartburg College
    Wellesley College
    Westminster College
    Whitman College
    Worcester Polytechnic Institute
    Xavier University
    Yale University

    Semester at Sea
    Global Citizen Gap Year



    Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado


    Lin Kobayashi (CHAIR)
    Mamoru Taniya
    Roderick Jemison
    Hidehiro Imatsu
    Masahiro Koshiba
    Paul McInerney
    Shusaku Minoda
    Kotaro Yamagishi
    Kimiya Yamamoto


    Nobuyuki Idei (CHAIR)
    David Katsujin Chao
    Heang Chhor
    Yasuchika Hasegawa
    Takashi Kawamura
    Kakutaro Kitashiro
    Kan Suzuki
    Fumio Tateishi


    Yasushi Ando
    Kenji Hosokawa
    Naoki Tamura


    Hidehiko Hayashi (CHAIR)
    Heang Chhor
    Kenji Govaers
    Yasushi Hatakeyama
    Hitoshi Honda
    Ryusuke Honjo
    Roderick Jemison
    Lin Kobayashi
    Yojiro Koizumi
    Hiroko Kono
    Masahiro Koshiba
    Mariko Magnan
    Thomas Miller
    Shusaku Minoda
    Suguru Miyake

    Jennifer Paddock
    Shigeru Sato
    Toru Shimada
    Makiko Shinoda
    Norio Takamatsu
    Shotaro Tanaka
    Mamoru Taniya
    Koki Uchiyama
    Yasuhiro Wakebayashi
    Kimiya Yamamoto
    Masakazu Yanagisawa
    Charlotte Yew
    Toshiaki Yoshida

    (listed by date of contribution)

    Mamoru Taniya
    Lin and Shigetoshi Kobayashi
    Yuriko Takahashi
    Kimiya Yamamoto
    Masakazu Yanagisawa
    Rika Aoi
    Fumio Tateishi
    Michiyo and Hidehiko Hayashi
    Hiroko Kono
    Hidehiro Imatsu
    Fumiko Ozawa (Kanenobu)
    Brian Nelson
    Masahiro Koshiba
    Masaru Kojima
    Einosuke Yoshino
    Gen Kato
    Takashi Inoue
    Shotaro Tanaka
    Takashi Murata
    Makoto Takano
    Takeshi Natsuno
    Hiroaki Mizutani
    Shogo Kawada
    Teruhide Sato
    Kohei Matsuki
    Nobuyuki Idei
    Kakutaro Kitashiro
    Tomoharu Inoue
    Tomonori Ito
    Kotaro Yamagishi
    Heang Chhor
    Eiichi Miyazawa

    Amane Nakashima
    Yasuro Koizumi
    Ogawa Scholarship Foundation
    Hideki Kinuhata
    Ichiro Miyake
    Ryusuke Honjo
    Edward Suzuki
    Yuichiro Sugahara
    Haruhiro Tsujimoto
    Shin Horie
    Ken Takayama
    Koichi Saura
    Ishibashi Foundation
    Katsunori Sago
    Masakazu Iwakura
    Haruki Kamiyama
    Masatada Kobayashi
    Kazutoshi Kobayashi
    Mariko and Jacques Magnan
    Kaji Family
    Shigeru Sato
    Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
    Taizo Hasebe
    Shinichiro Okumoto
    Junko Fukutake
    Hitoshi Honda
    Terumi and Yojiro Koizumi
    Yasushi Ando
    Hiroyuki Arita
    Mikiko and Toshio Iwasaki
    Noriko Yamaguchi
    Seiji Yasubuchi
    Shinji Kimura
    Shusaku Minoda

    Toshio Himuro
    Nonaka Institute of Knowledge
    Hoppy Mina Co., Ltd.
    Okada Memorial Club
    Ichiro Kawanabe
    Shuhei Morofuji
    Suguru Miyake
    United Managers Japan Inc.
    Akiyuki Nagase
    Yoko Takai
    Makiko Suehiro
    Keizo Fujitake
    Shinji Yoshizawa
    Koki Uchiyama
    Yasuhiro Wakebayashi
    Mei Yu
    Takahisa Fujitake
    Jun Furukawa
    Toru Shimada
    Nobuo Sayama
    Hitoshi Kashiwaki
    Ayako Yoshida
    (Masako and Hiroshi Sasaki)
    Yi Shi
    Paul and Maki McInerney
    Takashi Kawamura
    United States-Japan Foundation
    Yasushi Fujita
    Muneaki Masuda
    Maki and Yasu Hatakeyama
    Masahisa Ikeda
    Tsuguhiko Kadokawa
    Ken Aoyama


    Yasumasa Manabe
    Naruatsu Baba
    Satoru Oshita
    Xiaolei Sun
    Yew Lin Goh
    YKK Holding Asia Pte Ltd.
    Takeshi Tanaka
    Yoshiaki Fujimori
    Junko Mori
    Haruo Nakamura
    Akira Kosugi
    Genki Shiota
    Tamotsu Kosano
    Ryo Ohira
    Riso Kyoiku Iwasa Foundation
    Hattori International Scholarship Foundation
    Ryo Abe
    Takahiro Sugawara
    Hiroyuki Watanabe
    Hikaru Shimura
    Shinichi Yamamoto
    Yuki and Makoto Arima
    Koichiro Hashimoto
    Mizuho Financial Group, Inc.
    Tatsuya Hayashi
    Hiroko and Toshiaki Yoshida
    Byking Inc.

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    UWC ISAK Japan
    5827-136 Nagakura
    Karuizawa, Kitasaku-gun,
    Nagano 389-0111


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