Ashinaga USA held its annual board meeting and reception

On June 3rd 2017, Ashinaga USA held its annual board meeting in New York City to discuss the past year and look forward to the coming year. Ashinaga USA continues to grow; next year, five more Ashinaga Scholars will begin their freshman year at U.S. colleges, bringing the total to sixteen students studying in North America. After the board meeting, about thirty Ashinaga supporters – members from the Kenjin-Tatsujin Council, stakeholders, students, and staff — gathered for an Ashinaga reception hosted at the residence of Kenjin-Tatsujin Council member Ms. Julie Azuma in Midtown Manhattan.

Appropriately, the two Ashinaga Scholars in attendance took center stage at the reception. Sibandze Zandile, or “Pepe,” from Swaziland and Daniel Kibuuka from Uganda were introduced and given the floor by Mr. Yukichi Okazaki, the President of Ashinaga USA. Pepe, who is a rising sophomore at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University studying aerospace engineering, talked about her goal of developing the aviation industry in Africa. She explained the incredible potential of the industry, much of which is still untapped. Daniel, a recipient of the Lydia Hayne Scholarship at Pepperdine University, is a rising senior and prospective Integrated Marketing Communications major. He spoke passionately about his plan to found a media firm in Uganda and his goal of employing fifty employees in the process. He concluded by articulating his gratefulness for the support that Ashinaga has provided.

The reception attendees, coming from a range of different industries and nationalities, reflected Ashinaga’s global reach and strong network.  Four members of Ashinaga’s esteemed Kenjin Tatsujin Council, an advisory board of industry leaders from around the world, were in attendance; Dr. Catharine Bond Hill, President Emerita of Vassar College and renowned higher education economist; Mr. Keko Yunge, the popular Chilean singer, author, composer, and activist; Ms. Linda Hoaglund, an accomplished film director whose work translating Japanese films for English-speaking audiences has won her great acclaim; and Ms. Julie Azuma, the founder of Different Roads to Learning, which sells educational products for people with autism.

Ashinaga USA is grateful for its supporters and advisors, who play an essential role in helping worthy, gifted students like Daniel and Pepe achieve their goal of contributing to the development of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Writer: Ryan Benitez
Photographer: Masao Katagami