September 1, 2023 – Tokyo, Japan
On August 25th, together with City Lab Tokyo and their parent company Tokyo Tatemono, One Young World Japan completed its annual Send Off event in which delegates from around the country gather to meet for the first time and prepare for the upcoming global summit. This year, again, set a record for the largest delegation ever as young leaders from both public and private sectors alike seek new networks and new solutions to existing challenges in Japan and abroad.
The Send Off reception is always the perfect place and time for us to announce new initiatives, share updates, and engage more and more young people. One Young World Japan Chairperson, Kimy Okubo, started off the evening with his congratulations to all of this year’s delegates. He also shared the importance of Belfast as the location of the 2023 global summit, sharing some history and trivia about the city. At a time of global conflict and political divisions, Belfast stands as a model for conflict resolution and peace.
To further elaborate and to welcome the young delegates to Belfast was the British Ambassador to Japan, Julia Longbottom CMG. Unable to join last year’s gathering for OYW 2022 Manchester, the Ambassador appeared in person this year full of vigor and excitement for the global summit and Japan’s participation in it. She not only shared her thoughts on Japan and the UK in general but, also wowed the crowd with an elegantly delivered ceremonial toast in perfect Japanese! Thank you, Ambassador Longbottom!
After a brief introductory video of Belfast, Chad Stewart from Astellas Pharma took the stage to introduce the 2023 Astellas delegation and its ASTAR program. The Astellas ASTAR program is co-designed with One Young World Japan’s GLA with the purpose of giving young leaders real world projects inside of a company to fast track their leadership skills, business acumen, and storytelling prowess. The company employees are challenged to create new projects for the company to advance specific goals directly related to the UN SDGs. Over the course of a year, they are given direct access to and support from C-Suite executives to help attain the support and know-how needed to advance the projects internally and eventually externally.
In attendance this year to support the delegates was Astellas Pharma CEO, Naoki Okamura and VP of Sustainability, Shingo Iino. Our sincere thanks and appreciation to Astellas for 4 years of global leader acceleration. We look forward to even more growth and positive returns!
Not to be outdone by Mr. Stewart, two of our superstars took the stage to give the delegates some additional information about this year’s summit. For the first time, OYWJ is sending its own SNS team to provide additional support on site. As Japan’s delegation grows, it is more important than ever to show the country’s presence at the global summit and we are proud to send OYWJ Coordinating Ambassador, Ikuyo Sakai, and OYWJ SNS Chief, Sakiko Shimono to the summit this year. In addition to the core OYWJ team on site this year, these two ladies will also be available to assist. They provided the delegation with communication protocols to ease their fears and get them excited for the experience! Thank you so much for your support this year, ladies!
Every year, thanks to our generous partners, we have the honor of announcing our scholarship recipients. This year we made two scholarships available that cover the entire cost of the global summit participation. Using SDG 5 as our guiding light, we chose 1 male and 1 female this year based on merit, need, and passion for change. The decision making process includes the entire OYWJ team, using a point based system and subjective commentary. Though there were many, many amazing young people who applied this year again, this year’s scholarships were awarded to Serina Suzuki and Koga Nakai.
Serina’s passion for leadership and desire to join OYWJ since 2019 made her an extremely strong candidate. A professionally made video with a clear sense of professionalism in both storytelling and goal setting stood out among the crowd and gave her a clear advantage.
Koga is a medical school student in Tokushima targeting postpartum depression. Despite still being a student, his passion for helping young mothers thoroughly impressed the OYWJ team and even moved a few of us to tears.
We sincerely hope that these scholarships further propel these two amazing young leaders to new heights.
Next up was Digital Garage’s 2023 delegate, Daum Kim. Daum is Digital Garage’s first ever delegate to the One Young World global summit. So, we asked her to say a few words “from delegate to delegate.”
Daum shared some of her personal experiences with the room. Being a world traveler, Daum has often found it difficult to “belong.” But, recently she has come to the conclusion that we all don’t need to belong “somewhere” because we can belong “everywhere.” It was a powerful message that inspired many delegates. Daum didn’t have a free moment during the networking session with many delegates seeking her out. Hope you were able to get some of the delicious food, Daum! Special thanks to Digital Garage to joining us and giving Daum this amazing opportunity.
Last but not least was a visit by not one, not two, but THREE One Young World Japan superstars! To finish off the speeches and get everyone ready for the networking session, Tsuyoshi Domoto, Ibun Hirahara, and Robin Lewis took the stage to share some of their experience and advice for this year’s delegates.
Tsuyoshi has been a Coordinating Ambassador for One Young World’s Asia 2 region for years. But, he has decided that this year will be his last as he now turns the page towards a new chapter of his life in ESG finance and investment. He shared some of his thoughts around HOW to best participate at the summit.
Ibun and Robin similarly shared stories of how the global summit and OYW community has affected their lives. To learn more about these amazing individuals, please click their names and visit their online profiles!
The event concluded with a fully catered networking session for delegates, ambassadors, corporate executives, and other One Young World Japan supporters. As always, we would like to give a huge thanks to our many partners and supporters and look forward to growing our efforts in 2024! Enjoy the summit everyone!!!!