Global Alumni Speaker Series

The Global Alumni Speaker Series is an opportunity for alumni and students to learn about the inspiring work and lives of ICU alumni, and to engage in meaningful dialogue. Each of the online sessions will feature an ICU alum who lives or has lived outside of Japan or who has pursued a career that is global in nature. Sessions will be open to students and alumni, and registration is required.

Each session will begin with a 15 minute presentation by the featured alum, followed by 45 minutes of moderated Q&A dialogue. JICUF hopes this will be an opportunity for students and alumni to connect and learn valuable lessons from one another. Session attendance limits may vary by session.

Registration is required to attend!

Are you an ICU graduate who would like to be featured in a future session? Contact us at!


Session 15: Yoshito Dobashi
Friday, July 16: 9PM ~ 10PM JST

Yoshito Dobashi graduated from ICU in 1991 with a major in sociology and enjoyed university life as a member of the Second Men’s Dorm, the rugby football club and the handbell club. He has worked for Sanwa Bank (now Mitsubishi UFJ Bank), the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). While serving as a rural development advisor for the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) in Fiji, he was involved in a car accident that left him with a disability. After attending the Institute of Developing Economies Advanced School (IDEAS), he earned a master’s degree in development studies at  the University of Manchester in the U.K. In 2017, he enrolled in Utsunomiya University Graduate School of Engineering, where he obtained his doctoral degree and is now a visiting professor.




David & Zenora Rackham
Postponed until fall

Professor Emeritus David Rackham and Mrs. Zenora Rackham lived and worked at ICU from 1984 to 2012. David was a professor of psychology and education at ICU and from 2002-2010 served as the Director of the Institute for Educational Research and Services. Zenora was a long-time counselor for ICU students and also taught part-time at the ICU High School. David and Zenora resided on campus with their children, and frequently opened their doors to ICU students and members of the campus community. They currently reside in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Past Sessions

2021 Jan-June

Session 5 (1/14/2021): Yumiko Matsuoka

Yumiko Matsuoka is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and a professor in the Ear Training department. She has also taught vocal writing in the Contemporary Writing and Production department. While studying at Berklee, she founded Vox One to fulfill her dreams of writing and performing in an a cappella ensemble.


Session 6 (2/10/2021): Kakeru Tsubota

Kakeru is a Senior Principal at Transformation Office, SAP Japan. Kakeru also serves as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Strategy Officer of EDISON Project, an SAP internal startup that provides responsive, real-time disaster prevention platform to public sector customers.

Session 7 (2/24/2021): Koji Miyazaki

Koji is the Director for Japanese Partnerships at Plug and Play, an early stage investor and largest corporate innovation platform in the world. PNP invests in 200 startups every year; portfolio includes PayPal, Dropbox, Lending Club, Honey.

Session 8 (3/16/2021): Jessica Cork

Jessica Kennett Cork is Vice President of Community Engagement and Communications at YKK Corporation of America.  Her primary responsibilities include managing government & public relations, corporate communications for YKK Corporation’s North and Central America Group, and corporate philanthropy management.

Session 9 (3/24/2021): Mai Onozawa

Mai Onozawa is the Managing Director of JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) Kuala Lumpur office. She began working at JETRO in 1996 and has served many roles throughout her time there, including Deputy Director of the JETRO Overseas Research Dept., Chief Deputy Director of JETRO Osaka, and Chief Director of JETRO Niigata.

Session 10 (4/8/2021): David McCagg

David McCagg has a different kind of connection to ICU than most. As the son of an ICU professor and dean, David grew up on ICU’s campus and spent most of his childhood exploring ICU’s forests and playing soccer on its fields. After graduating from the American School in Japan, David moved to California to attend the University of Redlands, but soon returned to ICU as an OYR in 2006. He has been working for NHK’s Washington DC Bureau as a producer since 2014, where he works on stories about American politics.

Session 11 (4/29/2021): Yoshihiko Higuchi and Miki Sumiyoshi

Yoshihiko Higuchi: During the summer break of his sophomore year at ICU, he took a spontaneous trip to Israel and worked at a banana field for a full year. In this time, he learned Hebrew, which he continues to use in his work to this day. After graduating from ICU, he furthered his studies in graduate school in Japan. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2013 after various experiences including time as a  freelance interpreter, TV coordinator, and special researcher at the Embassy of Japan in Israel. Since 2017, he has been working at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C.

Miki Sumiyoshi: Miki was born in Japan, but spent her elementary school years in Seattle and her secondary school years in Vancouver, where her interest in various cultures and communication with different people grew. She started her career as an Announcer at NHK and worked at Fukushima station, Sendai station and Tokyo headquarters, experiencing a wide variety of media work from presenting, narrating, newscasting, interviewing and live-reporting, to researching, directing and producing TV and radio shows.

After working with NHK for 15 years, she became a freelance TV/Radio host. She has been hosting the popular wide morning radio show “Blue Ocean” (Tokyo FM) since 2012, and is going into her 10th year this April. Her husband and she run a small cafe in central Tokyo.


Session 12 (5/13/2021): Sayaka Watanabe

After graduating from ICU in 2005 (Asian Studies major), Sayaka completed the master’s program in Human Security at the University of Tokyo. She worked as a business consultant at IBM from 2007 to 2011. She founded a non-profit organization in 2011 and a for-profit company in 2013. Through the two organizations, she offers consulting and research services as well as human resources development and training for Japanese companies that aim to operate in Asia and Africa. In 2014, Sayaka founded the Asian Women Social Entrepreneurs Network (AWSEN) , which supports women entrepreneurs in ASEAN and East Asian countries.

Session 13 (5/25/21): Honami Iizuka

Honami graduated from ICU in 2015 (International Relations major, Politics minor). In 2016, she was crowned Miss Japan “Greenery for Life”. She then worked for a real estate company in a department in charge of the Athletes’ Village for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Currently, she is the global producer of UNIVERSITY of CREATIVITY. 

Session 14 (6/8/21): Robyn Natsuko Shinozaki

Robyn graduated in 2018, majoring in international Relations. After graduation she joined the APAC HQ of Facebook in Singapore, where she is currently part of the Workplace team (a SaaS product by Facebook). During her time in ICU she spent several semesters in Nepal where she helped in the earthquake rebuilding efforts to then later starting a tech education project with the help of JICUF. With social impact close to her heart, she is actively involved in community building and volunteer initiatives while pursuing her full time career.