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SPP Joins Stanford and Georgetown in Partnership with Japan’s KAKEHASHI Project

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KAKEHASHI Project, students from UMD, Stanford and Georgetown in Japan

University of Maryland School of Public Policy, along with Stanford University and Georgetown University, partnered with the KAKEHASHI Project to send a select group of graduate students to Japan for one week. This program was coordinated by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE) with the goal of promoting mutual trust, understanding and friendship. The program was also made possible with funding provided by the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Japanese word “kakehashi” means “bridge,” which symbolizes the hope for participants to form lasting relationships with Japan and its people, and serve as bridges between nations and cultures. The focus of this partnership is to enhance our knowledge and understanding of Japanese politics, economy, society, culture, history and diplomatic policy while also building lasting friendships. With globalization rapidly evolving and driving the future of public policy, this experience enabled students to better understand foreign policy and keep pace with 21st century challenges. 

The three UMD School of Public Policy graduate students who were selected – Karina Ankrom, Kayla Joyce and Noor Tofailli – arrived in Tokyo January 7. During their weeklong visit, students explored the role of the Japanese government, met with  government officers to discuss current policy issues, and traveled to historical sights and landmarks. Students also enjoyed a firsthand look at Japan’s privatized transportation system which has long been admired by travelers around the globe for its reliability, organization and cleanliness. 

Some of the highlights of the trip included visiting the Meiji Jingu Shrine in Tokyo, and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and the Shukkeien Garden in Hiroshima. While in Hiroshima, students embarked on a guided peace cycling tour where they reflected on the lives lost, the stories of the people, and the recovery and hope for the future. They also visited Itsukushima Island, also known as Miyajima, where the Itsukushima Shrine and torii gate are known throughout the world.

This exciting new partnership with the KAKEHASHI Project fosters a deeper understanding of and appreciation for Japanese policy and culture. It is rooted in the spirit of friendship, collaboration and hands-on learning, with Japan being at the global forefront of innovation and technology. From local to global, our students are committed to making an impact in the world and serving the public good.


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Megan Campbell
Director of Communications
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