Dear Supporters of Friends of UTokyo, Inc. (FUTI):
I hope this message finds you well. New York area is embracing very nice fall weather. Although the Covid-19 pandemic has been continuing more than one and a half years, thanks to the highly efficacious vaccines, we can now see that the situation is improving and normality is coming back though with some limitations. However, the virus may still become endemic and thus continuing caution will be necessary.
One thing that has become clear is the critical importance of leadership in politics, business, science, technology, arts, etc., to properly deal with this unprecedented huge crisis on a world scale. Also, it is evident that rapid and coordinated information sharing and international collaborations, especially in medical and social sciences, are the only way to solve such a crisis. In this regard, the cultivation of well-informed and capable next-generation leaders, which is FUTI’s mission, has proven to be extremely important for us.
It has been more than 14 years since the inception of FUTI. We are full of gratitude to all the generous contributions we receive every year in support of our primary mission, the FUTI Scholarship programs. Alumni organizations such as the Akamonkai and Ichokai provide various opportunities in New York and around the world for UTokyo alumni. FUTI has been closely working with these organizations to reach out and nurture our younger-generation UTokyo students and alumni in order to cultivate future global leaders. For FUTI’s organization and various activities, please refer to the 2020 Annual Report. Of course, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, FUTI’s Study Abroad programs had to make significant adjustments. Nevertheless, our activities have continued through online symposia, seminars, panel discussions, webinars, and alumni gatherings through the rapid and proactive implementation of Zoom.
As Vice-President and CFO, Kuwama, mentions, small individual donations are becoming increasingly important. I would like to call upon each and every friend and patron who endorse FUTI’s mission for continued support in order for us to sustain and enrich FUTI’s Programs through 2022 and beyond.
Please visit friendsofutokyo.org/donate for online and postal donations. In the donation form, you are encouraged to specify to which program your donation will be applied.
Iwao Ojima, President and CEO
A Message from the CFO
Thanks to your generous support, last year, donations from individuals reached virtually the same level as the previous year, despite the Covid19 pandemic. To accept large gifts, we must stay qualified as a public charity. Maintaining this status requires that the total amount of individual gifts be at least a third of all donations. Donations from our individual supporters are the foundation for large donations, making every individual gift three times more valuable. It is essential to have as many of our supporters as possible to contribute.
I believe the easiest methods for donating are either online by making a secure credit card payment or sending a check by mail. For those who prefer sending a wire transfer to FUTI, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions. We will send you the necessary FUTI account information to complete the transfer.
Vice-President and CFO, Friends of UTokyo, Inc.
FUTI Scholarship Recipients Giving Back
Greetings to all the supporters of Friends of UTokyo, Inc. My name is Yuki Haba, the founder and president of the FUTI Alumni Association (FAA). 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.
Although there were periodic events hosted by FUTI or gatherings organized by volunteers, there was no official plan or system in place for scholarship recipients to connect or stay in touch. This situation seemed a waste of an opportunity because these FUTI award recipients/alumni are outstanding individuals who have prevailed through tough competition even within UTokyo. Hence, we have established the FUTI Alumni Association. Thanks to tremendous help from FUTI and Satsuki-kai America, we were recently able to co-host virtual events such as a talk by Mr. Fumiya Uchikoshi, “Low Fertility, Population Aging, and Gender Inequality in Japan,” and a dialogue with Professors Geeta Mehta and Peter Macotullio, “Learning from Covid-19 Pandemic Experience: New York and Tokyo”. I hope that we will be able to host in-person FAA events very soon, which would undoubtedly be the best to foster connections between the Alumni members who excel globally in a wide variety of fields.
On February 27, 2019, in Manhattan, New York City, a special preview screening of the short film “Breakers” was held along with a meet-and-greet with the film director, Minami Goto, a recipient of the Ito Foundation U.S.A.-FUTI Scholarship. While a student at the Columbia University Film School, Ms. Goto won the Avex Digital Award for best film plan at the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2017, an international short film festival and Academy Award sanctioned competition. A preview screening of the completed short film, “Breakers” was shown to the 31 attendees of this event who enjoyed a 25-minute story of a friendship between Japanese high-schoolers and their rebellion against adults.
After the screening, Ms. Goto gave a presentation on the long process of filmmaking starting from its planning stages, production preparation, filming, post-production, to its distribution. When asked her thoughts on giving back to FUTI, she says, “I was a FUTI scholarship student at Columbia University, I was supported by many of my predecessors in tangible and non-tangible ways. Since I like to support and give back to the younger generation, every year I give a small donation to FUTI. As a student, I was encouraged not only by the financial support but also by many people who believed in the value of my pursuit and offered me guidance.”