Yuki Haba, founding member, has contributed the following essay/announcement to this Newsletter
Greetings to all the supporters of Friends of UTokyo, Inc. My name is Yuki Haba. In 2015, I traveled abroad to study at Columbia University thanks to the support from FUTI, and currently I am in graduate school at Princeton University pursuing my doctoral degree as a researcher of evolutionary genetics. Here I would like to introduce the new FUTI Alumni established this year.
As you may know, FUTI provides financial support and opportunities to joint projects or programs which encourage the exchange of ideas to enhance the University of Tokyo community in Japan and around the world. From scholarship/travel grants aiding in the participation of summer programs in U.S. universities or mid- to long-term studies abroad, to research grants helping to finance cooperative projects between UTokyo and U.S. universities, a total of more than 150 people have benefited from these scholarships since 2010. The important effect these scholarships and grants have on the recipients is quite clear in reading the FUTI newsletters or students’ reports.
Although there are periodic events hosted by FUTI (e.g., FUTI lecture series) or gatherings organized by volunteers (e.g., welcome luncheons), and posts on the FUTI Facebook page (e.g., the “Reports from the Scene” Series), there have not been an official plan or system in place for scholarship recipients to connect or stay in touch. This situation seems a waste of an opportunity because these 150-plus FUTI award recipients/alumni are outstanding individuals who have prevailed through tough competition even within UTokyo. There is great potential in forming an attractive community by connecting such a group of people.
For example, an opportunity for younger scholarship recipients (such as a sophomore attending a summer program in the U.S. who have ambitions but aren’t yet certain of their path) to be able to get encouragement and information from past and current recipients would be invaluable. In addition, it would be even better if there is a way in which recipients can share their enthusiasm for their work, leading to joint research or ventures. Moreover, this could lead to opportunities for them to support FUTI by volunteering for events or contributing ideas and articles for publication.
Hence, we have established the FUTI Alumni Association. Basically, it will 1) hold an annual FUTI Alumni Association gathering event in New York, and 2) open a FUTI Alumni Association Facebook page (a closed group of just alumni and staff) and establish a mailing list. The FUTI Alumni Association will undoubtedly connect outstanding Japanese and American FUTI scholarship recipients and lead to a stimulating and intellectual community. Activities and announcements will be made along the way in the newsletter!
If you are interested in in joining FUTI Alumni Association, please contact us at FUTIalumni [at] gmail.com
Yuki Haba, Founding Member
Princeton University, Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology