ICU High School Students Attend the Student Global Leadership Institute at the Punahou High School, Hawaii
The Japan ICU Foundation has been fulfilling its mission to support ICU’s global and ecumenical programs by providing funding for campus facilities, scholarships and grants as well as implementing programs. Perhaps less known is the fact that JICUF also supports the ICU High School.
Located on the northern edge of the ICU campus in Koganei-shi, ICU High School was founded in 1978 as a school where “returnees” who have spent years abroad can learn side by side with students who have been educated in the traditional Japanese school system. To this day, two thirds of the school’s student body consists of returnees, and in the past 40 years or so, students who have lived in over 100 countries have walked its halls.
In 2014, the Ministry of Education designated ICU High School as one of 56 “Super Global High Schools (SGH)” across the country. These high schools are expected to take the initiative in educating global leaders with a deep interest and knowledge in social issues, as well as strong communication and problem-solving skills. ICU High School instituted various programs and events both within and outside Japan to enhance such leadership. Study tours to Stanford University in the U.S., Asian Rural Institute in Nasu, Tochigi, Ethiopia and Vietnam are some examples, and reports of these activities can be found in the High School’s SGH blog. According to Ms. Noriko Saito, International Programs Coordinator, approximately 130 ICU High School students participate in global programs each year.
JICUF has been supporting ICU High School students’ attendance in one such global program, the Student Global Leadership Institute (SGLI) in Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii. SGLI is an annual summer program that aims to develop a community of youth leaders who “understand and are engaged in shared global challenges and who galvanize positive social change.” Each year, students from over 20 schools across the globe participate in the two-week program. This year, approximately 70 students from 23 schools in the U.S., China, Denmark, England, India, New Zealand, Korea, Sweden and Japan came together from July 16th to 28th. This year’s theme was peace, and students participated in workshops, discussions and field trips that helped them develop social-action projects suitable for their home cities.
From ICU High School, three second year students – Risa Kazui, Natsuki Ota and Ami Suzuki – and Ms. Yukiko Omori, physical education teacher, took part in the program. Here are what two of the students had to say about their experience.
“Participating in SGLI didn’t just help me create good memories for my one and only junior year summer, but changed me. This year’s theme, “peace,” seemed too grand and broad for us high schoolers to tackle. However, after participating in SGLI, I realized such a theme was something that teenagers could engage in earnestly without bias. Although distrust and prejudice lead to discrimination and conflicts threaten peace in today’s world, we students who participated in SGLI built strong relationships and respected each other as peers, transcending race and nationality. Everyone had the hope and enthusiasm to change and heal the world that we live in as global citizens. I hope to take action to spread peace starting locally in my own surroundings.”
“What left the strongest impression on me were the presentations that each school made at the end of the two-week program. Students from all over the world with different cultural backgrounds came up with unique projects on the same topic of “peace”: this showed that there are numerous ways to build peace. We don’t know if these projects will actually succeed, but I would like to try my best to use my experiences in Hawaii to make mine succeed. I hope that our project doesn’t end with us, but that other ICU students will also understand the importance of peace and continue to make efforts in the future. SGLI was an unforgettable experience which is sure to impact my future. ”
At JICUF, we are collecting information about ICU High School graduates who live in North America. If you are an ICUHS graduate, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, year of graduation, and e-mail. We will send you invitations to alumni events and our monthly newsletter.
Donations to the ICU High School can be made here. Your generous donations will support the High School’s educational programs including global programs such as SGLI.