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
0%Of Students Received Financial Assistance
¥0Provided in Scholarships
0Students From 74 Countries
0Faculty From 14 Countries
0Staff From 9 Countries
Year in Review
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
Class of 2020 / Afghanistan
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.
Director of Admissions
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.
Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Lin Kobayashi (CHAIR)
Nobuyuki Idei (CHAIR)
David Katsujin Chao
Hidehiko Hayashi (CHAIR)
(listed by date of contribution)
Lin and Shigetoshi Kobayashi
Michiyo and Hidehiko Hayashi
Fumiko Ozawa (Kanenobu)
Ogawa Scholarship Foundation
Mariko and Jacques Magnan
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Terumi and Yojiro Koizumi
Mikiko and Toshio Iwasaki
Nonaka Institute of Knowledge
Hoppy Mina Co., Ltd.
Okada Memorial Club
United Managers Japan Inc.
(Masako and Hiroshi Sasaki)
Paul and Maki McInerney
United States-Japan Foundation
Maki and Yasu Hatakeyama
Yew Lin Goh
YKK Holding Asia Pte Ltd.
Riso Kyoiku Iwasa Foundation
Hattori International Scholarship Foundation
Yuki and Makoto Arima
Mizuho Financial Group, Inc.
Hiroko and Toshiaki Yoshida