For many years, JICUF has supported scholarships for ICU students. These scholarships have been awarded to Japanese and non-Japanese exchange and degree-seeking students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Until now, JICUF would agree to transfer funding to ICU on an annual basis, and our ICU colleagues would manage the application and awarding process.
Last year, JICUF embarked upon a review of our scholarship program in close cooperation with the ICU administration and staff. After analyzing historical data and best practices, a decision was made to reform our scholarship program. Several objectives have guided the reform process. First and foremost, our scholarship program aims to increase the number of international degree-seeking undergraduate students at ICU. Second, we are seeking to further the geographic and socioeconomic diversity of the ICU student body. Finally, we are hoping to create a network of scholarship recipients who will remain in touch with JICUF well into the future.
With this in mind, we are pleased to announce the JICUF Global Scholarship Program. There are four subcategories within the Global Scholarship Program. They include the United States Scholars Initiative, the Syrian Scholars Initiative, the Exchange Student Initiative and the Study Abroad Initiative. What follows is a brief explanation of each category.
United States Scholars Initiative (USSI)
USSI aims to increase the number of international, degree-seeking undergraduate students from the United States at ICU. This merit-based scholarship will provide full-tuition support for four years of undergraduate study at ICU. Starting in 2018, two incoming first-year students will receive the scholarship annually. The applicants must be United States citizens and have completed high school in the United States. They must also demonstrate an interest in Japan, the Japanese language and the liberal arts.
Syrian Scholars Initiative (SSI)
As part of our commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and stemming from our Christian values, we have created a new scholarship program to support Syrian refugees currently residing in Turkey. The Syrian Civil War is the biggest geopolitical crisis of the 21st century thus far, with over 400,000 dead, 6.3 million internally displaced and 5 million refugees as of March 2017, according to the United Nations. Turkey, which shares a border with Syria and is a gateway to Europe, has received close to 3 million refugees, the highest number for any one country. Before the conflict, Syria’s population was one of the most highly educated in the Middle East. However, there are millions of Syrian youth whose education has been disrupted by the war.
Starting in 2018, two full scholarships will be provided to Syrian refugees residing in Turkey. We are working in close partnership with ICU, the Japan Association for Refugees, Jusoor, and the Institute for International Education. This is an exciting and challenging program and is the first example of a privately funded scholarship program for Syrian refugees in a Japanese university.
Exchange Student Initiative
ICU has for many years attracted exchange students from its over 70 partner institutions around the globe. JICUF has provided scholarship support in the past for incoming exchange students. However, we plan to shift our focus to geographic regions often less-represented at ICU. This includes South Asia, Africa and South America.
Study Abroad Initiative
For the past five years, JICUF has provided a small scholarship to five outgoing ICU exchange students. However, from 2018 we will award one larger scholarship to an ICU student with financial need. We hope the scholarship will allow ICU students without the requisite financial resources to consider pursuing an international study experience.
We look forward to providing updates on each of the new JICUF Global Scholarship categories. If anyone is interested in providing financial support for scholarships, please do not hesitate to reach out directly to our office. Together, we can further ICU’s global impact and reach.