Oct 6


Thanks to Matt Gillam, Senior Researcher at CLAIR-NY (aka Japan Local Government Center), who attended the recent Sister Cities International Conference in Riverside, CA, for writing up a little something about the conference and noting how JETs were present in several ways.

A little context:  Back in July, several JET alum reps including Mike Shu, Jessyca Wilcox and myself along with Matt met up with Sister Cities International when we were in D.C. for the JETAA USA National Conference to talk about potential collaboration.  The topic was subsequently discussed with JETAA chapter reps in a session at the JETAA USA National Conference.

“I just got back from the Sister Cities Pan-Pacific conference in Riverside, where we had a chance to gauge interest in the idea of making alumni available to cities to help out with their sister city relationships.  The reaction I got was that there is definitely interest, and not just limited to sister cities matters.  There seems to be quite a need for help with other visitors from Japan as well, where cities lack people with knowledge of not just language, but also cultural and social norms.

Mark Juloya and Russell Iriye, from JETAA Southern California, came for the conference and Russell participated in a session on “Best Practices in Youth Programming”, where he talked about JET & JETAA.  In the Q&A after his presentation, I had a chance to mention the alumni as an available resource for cities and a couple of people were quite interested.  Overall, as I said, the response was positive, and Mark and Russell were also great exemplars of the kind of talent JETAA has to offer.

On Sunday, Sendai City put on a display at the most popular spot in town (the Mission Inn) to talk about how the city is recovering and to thank Riverside for all its support ($584,000 in donations, plus the area dispatched USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) teams etc. to the region immediately following the disasters).  Audrey Shiomi, a former CIR in Sendai City, also came out to help for the day.  Audrey is one of those former JETs who have taken advantage of the program to revisit their former communities in Tohoku, and another great example of how valuable alumni can be to their former employers.

And one more person to mention is  Renay Loper, who’s with the Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership now.  She was there with a Japanese colleague to attend the conference, since CGP was helping to fund it.

JETs are everywhere.”

Matt Gillam
JLGC, New York


one comment so far...

  • Japan Connections where you Least Expect them | Hills Learning Said on October 8th, 2011 at 1:18 am:

    […] Riverside, California for the first time, host of the recent Sister Cities International conference highlighted here in JetWit.  My group and I are staying in the lovely Mission Inn, a national historical landmark established […]

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