Message from the President

Dear Friends of UTokyo:
It is my great honor and privilege to serve Friends of UTokyo, Inc. (FOTI) as its new President, succeeding my predecessor and founding President, Mr. Junji Masuda. Under his leadership we launched our first fundraising effort in November 2009, and it is indeed gratifying that we already have begun to witness some impacts of our activities.
Last year, we provided small research grants to the UTokyo-Yale Initiative (TYI) on “Japan Study,” and to the University of California at Berkeley for their joint research program with UTokyo, called IPMU (the Institute for Physics and Mathematics of the Universe). This summer, we are supporting (see the article below) seven outstanding students from U.C. Berkeley, Yale and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who are studying or conducting research at UTokyo, and six UTokyo students who attend summer courses at Berkeley or Yale.
The purposes of Friends of UTokyo Inc. are twofold. One is to initiate or help various activities to globalize UTokyo by encouraging its students and faculty members to study or conduct research at leading U.S. universities. The second purpose is to encourage U.S. students and scholars to become interested in Japanese science & technology, its culture, history, society, etc. Such international experiences are indispensable for the younger generations of both countries to become global leaders of the future.
Our ultimate objective is not just to globalize UTokyo alone. All leading universities in Japan and U.S. must strive to nurture their students to become well educated with international experiences and to make them well prepared to become future leaders in this increasingly complex and globalized world. FOTI is not designed for social activities or information exchange among UTokyo alumni. Rather, it has the noble mission and worthwhile cause to achieve further internationalization of UTokyo and other institutions of higher learning in Japan and the U.S. To the best of our knowledge, FOTI is the only public charity organization with tax exempt status recognized by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) among numerous organizations in the U.S. associated with Japanese universities.
Given the enormous debt Japan carries today and the daunting tasks of reconstructing the country from the tragic aftermath of the recent quake and tsunami of unprecedented scale, and the subsequent nuclear power plants’ disaster, we fear that the Government will not be able to allocate adequate resources to educate and nurture future leaders for the nation, and it will be our responsibility of individuals and members of the private sector to fill this gap. Thus, the role that FOTI intends to play for human capital development will be more critical than ever.
Although we are constrained to select our activities within the framework defined in our original application to the IRS, we want FOTI to act as a powerful catalyst for collaborative research and exchanges of students and scholars across the Pacific, and we need strong support from individuals, companies and foundations both in Japan and the U.S. I believe that we should be able to find creative ways, within our given constraints, for worthwhile programs that we want to support, as long as our financial resources allow us to do so. We seek and value innovative ideas and suggestions you might have concerning activities of FOTI and our fundraising efforts. Please send your thoughts to
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all members of the Board, its Advisory Committee and those who have made monetary or nonmonetary contributions to FOTI. Their valuable support has allowed FOTI to implement the aforementioned grants and award programs. We are especially grateful to the generosity of Shintech Inc, a U.S. subsidiary of Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd. At present, the dividends from Shintech’s Trust Fund represent more than 60% of the total revenue of FOTI. One of our priorities is to broaden the base of our support by reaching out to as many friends of UTokyo as we can possibly identify. So we request your assistance in introducing FOTI to your friends, your employers, other companies and organizations who might find our activities worthwhile to support. We also need volunteers who can help FOTI by serving as officers (see the call for nominations of candidates for directors), by reviewing grants and award applications, or by organizing useful discussion meetings (see the news article below on a UTokyo Ryuugakusei group). Please visit our website for further information. We look forward to working with all of you to nurture leaders of the future.
Sincerely yours,
Hisashi Kobayashi
President, Friends of UTokyo, Inc.

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