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I attended the closing ceremony of Japan Future Leaders Summit 2017 yesterday organized by Beyond Tomorrow. I have been involved with Beyond Tomorrow initiatives since it began in 2011. The initiative has evolved over the years from scholarship etc. for students in Tohoku who suffered from earthquake and tsunami, to cover students in difficult economic and other family related conditions throughout the country.

 Yesterday was the last day of 3-day leadership summit and 9 student teams presented their ideas/action plan to resolve the issue of children in poverty. I had the honour of serving as one of the judges. It was very moving and impressive experience as in the past. The team who won was very innovative and creative, well deserving the prize.
I find all presentations moving as they are proposals, reflecting their own experiences-some so difficult and almost beyond imagination.

Part 1 ended with chorus by the students which I enjoy.

Part 2 of the event was parallel sessions of dialogue with leaders–specifically, Prof. H. Takenaka, Y. Habu, Shogi professional and N. Yamazaki, astronaut, followed by farewell lunch. I could not stay for the whole thing as I had a class in the afternoon. I am grateful for this type of opportunity to interact with people with high aspirations.

I felt that if we could connect these students in difficult situations with other young people who are willing to listen to their stories, we could make a step forward for the issue of “having nobody to talk to” and “feeling isolated.”

Here is a short video I made.(voice over in English.)

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