In 2013, Dr. Sachiko Kuno, Co-Founder, President, and CEO of S&R Foundation and Professor Shotaro Yachi, current national security advisor to Prime Minister Abe, formulated a study abroad program for Japanese undergraduate and graduate students with a focus on International Security and Global Resiliency. This idea came out of a few similar programs S&R Foundation had been involved with including the Kyoto University Global Leadership Program and the International Institute of Global Resiliency Leadership Development Program for Keio University and Kumamoto University with a focus on Emergency Management. In 2015 this program evolved into the current Kingfisher Global Leadership Program, a two-week long U.S. study abroad program for Japanese undergraduate and graduate students implemented by S&R Foundation in partnership with Professor Shotaro Yachi for students of three Tokyo based universities – Tokyo University, Keio University and Waseda University.

Purpose: Empower the next generation of leaders with the skills and networks they need to thrive in an increasingly globalized society.

How do we do this?

Expose participants to a variety of international career opportunities in different fields including, but not limited to:

  • International Development – World Bank, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, United Nations Foundation
  • Government – United States Department of State, Peace Corps, Japanese Embassy in Washington, DC
  • Research & Development – NASA, NIH, NIST
  • Think Tanks – Brookings, American Enterprise Institute, Center for American Progress, Center for a New American Security, Stimson Center
  • Business Leaders – Dr. Sachiko Kuno, Dr. Ryuji Ueno, Fellows in the Halcyon Incubator
  • Non-Profit Sector – Mansfield Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, Sasakawa USA
  • Media – NHK, Newseum, Asahi Shimbun
  • Provide opportunities to speak with prominent leaders in their respective fields
  1.    Listen to leaders personal career development stories
  2.    Ask about steps they took to achieve their goals
  • Promote participants’ desire/ability to become strong leaders who can make a measurable impact in their chosen fields
  • Focus on developing a personal mission and vision for your future


Important Program Dates

April 17, 2017 – Application Period Opens 

June 14, 2017 - Application Period Closes - UPDATE: Deadline extended to June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017: First Round Selections Determined-  - UPDATE: Finalists informed by June 23, 2017

June 28-29, 2017: Second Round Selections - Interviews 

                                Can be conducted remotely through video chatting service (SKYPE, ZOOM)

                                Must be available for interview to be selected for the program

June 30, 2017: Final Round: Participants informed

July 3, 2017: Participants Deadline to Accept

September 2 – September 16, 2017: Program in Washington, DC


Number of Participants: Limited to 10 students


Example Itinerary: 2016 Inter-University Kingfisher Global Leadership Program


Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Undergraduate or Graduate Student
  • Enrolled at an accredited university (limited to Tokyo University, Keio University, Waseda University, Sophia University)
  • Proficient in English:
    • Sessions will be held in Japanese or English at a very high level
    1. IELTS Score 6.0 or greater
    2. TOEFL score 550 or greater
    3. iBT score 80 or greater
    4. TOEIC score 750 or greater
  • Expected to participate in all program activities
  • Be aware of the demanding schedule. Here is an example: [link]
  • Be interested in International Affairs/Development
  • Program has a focus on the U.S.-Japan Relationship, but is not limited to it
  • Be able to act responsibly throughout the duration of the program
    •  Program Staff will not be with participants 24/7 and are not chaperones, but facilitators
  • Be Inquisitive and Proactively Engaged
  • Program requires participants to actively take part in Q&A sessions.
  • You will be required to give a final presentation on your experiences in front of invited guests and program staff.
  • Be open to experiences outside of your academic field
  • Program is inter-disciplinary by nature
  • Academic Excellence

Selection Process

Participants will be determined by a joint committee of participating University Staff/Professors, Japan National Security Council Staff, and S&R Foundation Staff. They will review all application materials. Top applicants will be selected and proceed to the interview stage. Final candidates will be determined after the interview stage is complete.

Selection Criteria

  • Applicant must meet all eligibility requirements
  • Provide copy of Academic Transcript
  • Provide copy of TOEFL iBT, IELTS, OR TOEIC Scores (only one test required)
  • Resume/CV Answers:  Experience in each section is evaluated as a whole and having experience in each section is NOT REQUIRED for final selection
  • Past living/study abroad experiences
  • Work/Internship Experience
  • Extra-Curricular Activities
  • Other Skills/Certifications (Includes Awards)
  • English Proficiency (determined through Test Scores, English essay and short answer responses, Interview)
  • Long Essay (500-750 words)
    1. Describe your motivation for applying to the Kingfisher Program and your future career goals
    2.  How can Kingfisher help your personal development?
  • Three Short Answer Responses (under 200 words each)
    1.  Choose three to answer from available questions


Quotes from past participants post program anonymous surveys:

"This program is the only one that I’ve participated in so far that has made me feel like the coordinators really want me to learn something and that it was delivered to that effect."

"Truly eye-opening horizon expanding intellectually stimulating experience. Made me feel like I could make it out on the international stage. Very good programming."

"Halcyon Fellow Kick off meeting was a great time for me because it was the first time to watch American Style (professional) presentations. It was inspiring and gave good tips to prepare for own presentations."

"Best program in my life. I could get some confidence through discussion with more people."

"I learned and understood the importance of leadership and career development qualities especially that of relationship building."