Jul. 30, 2020

Debriefing by sixth-round TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation scholars

On June 26, 2020, Sumitomo Corporation organized a debriefing session presented by nine students who participated in the TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship Program in its sixth year. The session was conducted online for the first time to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Sumitomo Corporation has been participating in the TOMODACHI Initiative (*1), a Japan-US exchange project led by the U.S. Embassy Tokyo and the U.S.-Japan Council (Japan), since 2014. Under the initiative, the Company runs the scholarship program to support exchange students who study at universities across the United States.

The program provides each student with a scholarship of 1.8 million yen per year. In addition, the Sumitomo Corporation of Americas New York Head Office hosts the students as trainees to help them broaden their global perspectives and learn leadership skills. Furthermore, volunteer employees of the Sumitomo Corporation Group who have experience studying or working overseas support the students one-on-one as mentors (*2) to help them achieve their desired goals and plans while studying abroad.

The debriefing session given by the nine students was attended by an audience of 75, including Ms. Junko Tsuda, Executive Director of the U.S.-Japan Council (Japan), representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Japan as well as university representatives, and Hideki Yamano, the Company’s Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Information Officer. The students gave presentations in fluent English, elaborating on what they had learned abroad as well as their resolve for the future. Mr. Michael Turner, Culture and Sports Attaché, U.S. Embassy Tokyo, offered words of encouraging, saying: “I have high hopes that the participants of this program will serve as bridges between Japan and the United States, take fearless actions guided by what they have learned abroad, and lead the bilateral relationship between the two countries in the 21st century.” On the same day, a round table with Masayuki Hyodo, President and CEO of the Company, was also held, where the students eagerly asked him questions and in return received a variety of advice.

On the following day, an alumni exchange event was organized and held by the students and program alumni (*3). With the event being online, 36 members participated from around the world, engaging in lively discussions and interactions, at times in smaller groups. The TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship Program is thus undoubtedly helping the next generation of leaders forge important interpersonal bonds based on their shared aspirations.

  1. A public-private partnership led by the U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Born out of support for Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake, the TOMODACHI program invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges as well as leadership programs. For more information, see: http://usjapantomodachi.org/
  2. Advisers and people whom the students can consult with
  3. Past participants of this scholarshipprograms
The students seemed at ease with online meetings. They each introduced the next presenter and listened to each other with a smile on their faces, demonstrating the strong sense of fellowship that exists among them.