FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Wendy Ikemoto
JAPAN EXCHANGE AND TEACHING PROGRAM ALUMNI ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK CELEBRATES 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE JET PROGRAM
February 27, New York, NY — The Japan Exchange and Teaching Program Alumni Association of New York (JETAANY) hosted a Gala event on Saturday, February 3rd at The Dumbo Loft in Brooklyn, NY. More than 130 JET Alumni, friends of JET, and members of the greater U.S.-Japan community gathered to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, celebrate the programâ€™s successful grassroots exchange, and reflect on its positive impact on U.S.-Japan relations. In addition to New York area-based alumni, attendees included representatives from JETAANYâ€™s subchapters in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, six different alumni chapters from across the US; two of the three JETAA USA country representatives; members of USJETAAâ€™s board; as well as representatives from the Japanese government including The Japan Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) NY, and the office of the Consulate-General of Japan in NY. Attending alumni, whose participation on JET spanned all 30 years of the programâ€™s history, represented 38 of Japanâ€™s 47 prefectures.
The formal, intergenerational night of celebration included a cocktail reception, taiko drum performance by Taiko Aiko Kai, kagami-biraki (traditional sake barrel ceremony), dinner, awards, speeches, cultural presentation, and dancing. VIP attendees included Masaru Sato, Director of the Japan Information Center and Deputy Consul General of the Consulate-General of Japan in New York who gave a keynote address, as well as Wataru Tozawa, Executive Director of the Japan Local Government Center, CLAIR New York, and Reverend Earl Ikeda, Resident Minister of the New York Buddhist Church, who also made speeches. â€œIt was a pleasure for me to attend such an energetic and festive gala, and see firsthand the strong impact Japan, and the JET Program has made on its many participants,â€ said Deputy Consul General Sato. â€œEvents like this demonstrate the dedication JET alumni members have towards promoting the US-Japan relationship and I hope JETAANY will continue to prevail for many years to come.â€
Members of the JETAANY community who have made exceptional contributions to US-Japan Relations, The JET Program, and The JETAANY community were also recognized, with award presenters including notable event attendees such as Paige Cottingham-Streater of the Japan~United States Friendship Commission (JUSFC); JETAA USA Country Rep Cheryl Hou; Laurel Lukaszewski & Bahia Simons-Lane of USJETAA; and Tatsuya Matsumoto, Kaori Ito, and Kotaro Kashiwai of CLAIR NY.
Exceptional Contributions to JETAANY, Awardee:
Suzette Brown, First JETAANY President
Exceptional Contributions to JETAANY, Awardee:
Monica Yuki, JETAANY Board member, JETAA USA Country Representative, Former JETAANY President, USJETAA Board Member
Exceptional Contributions to the JET Community, Awardee:
Steven Horowitz, JETwit founder and former JETAANY Board member
Exceptional Contributions to US-Japan Relations, Awardee:Â Â Â Â Â
George Rose, Second JETAANY President, Japanese Interpreter for the New York Yankees, Director for Yankeesâ€™ Pacific Rim Operations
Exceptional Support of the JET Program and Contributions to the JET Community, Awardee:
Matthew Gillam, Senior Researcher at the Japan Local Government Center (JLGC) in NY
Exceptional Contributions to US-Japan Relations, Awardee:
James Gannon, Former JETAANY Board member, Executive Director, JCIE / USA
The event was planned by the JETAANY Gala Committee including co-chairs Alex Varney and Andrew Shartzer, Kimberly Hyacinthe, Wendy Ikemoto, Nichole Knight, Brenda McKinney, Fernando Rojas, and Ronda Rutherford.
The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program Alumni Association of New York (JETAANY) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1990 which serves over 2,000 members in the tri-state area, making it one of the largest and most active JET alumni chapters in the world. JETAANYâ€™s mission is to assist returning JETs with acclimating to life and work in New York, foster education and understanding of Japanese culture, and strengthen ties between JET alumni and the greater Japanese community. JETAANY hosts a wide variety of social, cultural, professional and athletic events throughout the year.
About the JET Program
The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program invites college graduates from around the world to participate in international exchange work and foreign language education at local government offices, Boards of Education, and in public elementary, junior high, and senior high schools throughout Japan. Since its founding in 1987, over 66,000 global participants from 67 countries have served on the program, with 52 alumni chapters currently active in 17 countries worldwide.
The program has grown significantly over its 30 year history, with 848 participants from four countries in 1987 and 5,163 participants from 44 countries in 2017.