Janet Ikeda, associate professor of East Asian languages and literature at Washington and Lee, is part of a 10-member delegation of Japanese-American leaders from across the country to travel to Japan next month for meetings with top officials in that country.
The goal of the 2012 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program is to further develop the U.S.-Japan relationship and establish a meaningful role for Japanese-Americans.
In a news release issued by the U.S.-Japan Council, which is organizing the program, Ikeda said: “My primary teaching objective is that students develop skills that will enable them to become true global citizens. The study of Japan is perfect for understanding nuance and non-verbal ways of communicating, which can empower students wherever they may go in the world.”
She added that the trip will be especially meaningful because of her family ties to Fukushima, the site of the nuclear crisis that accompanied the Great East Japan Earthquake.
“JALD creates a meaningful intersection where, for the first time in my life, the personal and professional can converge in a way that allows me to contribute most effectively,” she said. “Like many others, I feel an urgency and commitment in the wake of 3/11 to continue this work long into the future.”
This is the 12th year of the program and the first time that the delegation will visit the city of Sendai, in the Tohoku region, to show support for the region devastated by last year's earthquake and tsunami. The delegation will also visit Tokyo for meetings with high-level leaders. In past years, delegations have met with the prime minister and foreign minister of Japan.
The program is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and organized by the U.S.-Japan Council, a national non-profit that acts as a catalyst by energizing Japanese-American leaders to strengthen and diversify U.S.-Japan relations.
Ikeda has been a member of the W&L faculty since 1999 and previously served as associate dean of the College.
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs