Hello, I am Masaya Shimoyama and I joined the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership New York office as the new Director this September.
For months now, people around the world have been facing and trying to overcome challenges never seen before. As COVID-19 rages on indiscriminately, it continues to claim countless lives, cripple economies, and take away opportunities for us to interact with one another. The U.S. and Japan have not been spared from this.
Since our inception, we at the Japan Foundation have worked tirelessly to promote international cultural exchange programs so that people around the world can understand each other’s cultures and work together to solve common issues. Currently, many of our programs have been cancelled, postponed, or significantly reduced. However, we believe that because of the current global situation, it is even more crucial for individuals to focus on not only their own country, but also other countries; enriching each other’s cultures through various forms of exchanges and tackling the common challenges facing humanity.
We have a long and rich history of cultural exchanges between Japan and the United States through the efforts of a wide variety of individuals and organizations. Last year, with the support and involvement of many people, the Japan Foundation New York successfully presented Japan 2019, a project to introduce the breadth Japanese culture to U.S. audiences. Next year, the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP) will celebrate its 30th anniversary. During this time, we have implemented intellectual and grassroots exchange programs to both strengthen the Japan-U.S. partnership as well as support the next generation of public intellectuals and leaders to sustain this partnership. Looking forward, we will continue along this path and to this end, we have adapted to this new global situation and have launched a wide variety of online programming.
While I have spent extensive time engaged in cultural exchange throughout Asia, this is my first time working here in the United States. I am impressed and encouraged by the many organizations that exist throughout this country that facilitate exchanges between Japan and the U.S., and we look forward to cooperating with them to promote new and innovative cultural exchange programs suited for this new era.