From July 18-31, 80 middle school students from 31 countries joined us on our campus in beautiful Karuizawa for a life-changing experience at ISAK Summer School 2015.
In the spirit of “Understanding Different Perspectives”, our theme for this year’s Summer School, students lived, studied and enjoyed activities together with peers from truly diverse backgrounds. Under this common theme, our interdisciplinary curriculum helped students realize the importance of appreciating diversity, while providing them tools to maximize their potential to become transformational leaders. Through the help of our team of passionate teachers, the students’ curiosity and willingness to learn were invigorated by engaging programs that connected the classroom with the real world.
“It was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn different values and to share the situation in my country with peers from around the world. I was able to find a new approach to solve problems.”
– Jawad, Summer School participant from Palestine
Highlights of ISAK Summer School 2015
Leadership by Design
Taught my Mr. Dave Mochel, the Leadership by Design course introduced students to the leadership concepts taught at ISAK. The program examines leadership through the perspective of neuroscience, to help students explore how our brains tend to behave and how they interpret the world around us. Using this knowledge, students had the opportunity to face a number of challenges through in-class activities where they practiced making decisions and approaching problems as opportunities for further growth.
Design Innovation Workshop
“We cannot just live in a world with problems; we have to find the solutions to them. I will use what I learned in the design innovation workshop back in my country.”
– Fidalia, Summer School participant from Myanmar
Design Innovation is one of the key components of our leadership program.(Learn more!) Our Design Innovation Workshop was taught by Mr. Durell Coleman, who also teaches Design Thinking programs at the Stanford d. school. In the workshop, students were asked to share challenges that their home country or community faces. Many of the students’ eyes were opened to the fact that some of the serious global problems they had previously only heard about through the news were being experienced first-hand by their new friends. Each team implemented the Design Innovation process and came up with collaborative solutions to tackle the challenges existing around the world. They learned that failure is an opportunity to learn and find better solutions, and that there is no single “right” answer.
International Negotiation Program
In the International Negotiation Program, students explored why countries behave the way they do in today’s world. Students, as emerging leaders, learned how they can collaborate with others to build a more peaceful and sustainable world. Mr. Jim Masker began the class by having students learn how customs and behaviors are different in each of the countries where their classmates were from. Students then learned how countries define national interests, developed negotiation objectives and strategies, formed alliances, and created international treaties. As a final project, they applied what they learned by conducting a simulated international negotiation in which they represented a country on the United Nations Security Council in order to resolve disputed issues relating to the melting arctic circle.
“I learned things about the world that I only knew from the news before coming to ISAK. When you learn about what is happening in each country from your friends who live there, it makes it feel so much more real. I realized how blessed I had been, and I’m determined to become a person who can practice leadership to make this world a better place.”
Anonymous, Summer School participant from Japan
Country Presentations are a student-led annual event at ISAK Summer School. Students had a chance to introduce their own cultures, values, issues and various topics, in addition to learning about other countries where their friends were from. It felt as if we had traveled around 31 different countries in a week! Some of our students, who come from challenging situations such as life in refugee camps, gave powerful presentations, encouraging their classmates to understand the gravity of the issues occuring back in their home countries.
We had the honor of welcoming Ms. Yuki Moriya, Public Information Officer at the UNHCR Representation in Japan, to our campus during the Summer School. Students had the opportunity to connect topics they were learning in classes, such as Human Rights issues and International Relations, with the real-life experiences of Ms. Moriya. She met our students, including eight refugees from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Tibet and Sahara, and left us with a powerful message:
“When you think about situations that refugees face; wars, prosecution…they are all man-made disasters. Unfortunately, the number of refugees in the world, currenty at 60 million, is increasing. But since it’s a man-made problem, there should be a solution. Each one of you might be able to find it.”
The students also had a lot of fun in various co-curricular activities including a day of hiking in the beautiful mountains near campus. We hope that their friendships will last forever and that this Summer School has become a life-changing experience for them and will be the beginning of their path toward becoming change-makers.
We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our donors, partners, volunteers and supporters, whose contributions were essential in making this year’s summer school such a tremendous success. The program would not have been possible without you, and we would like to express our sincere gratitude for your generosity and kindness.
Summer School 2015 Donors
United States-Japan Foundation
The Kamenori Foundation
Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd.
Mitsubishi UFJ Foundation
Hoppy Beverage Co., Ltd.
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited
Richemont Japan Limited
The Murabayashi Foundation
Nomura Holdings, Inc.
Mr. Seung Kwak
Mr. Takashi Oyagi
Mr. Atsushi Katayama
Mr. Kosuke Nakadate (Internous)
Mr. Masahiro Koshiba
Mr. Masahito Iwamoto
Mr. Seji Murakata
Mr. Tatsuo Ishikawa (Rainbow Children Japan)