WIT Cross Border Learning Journey 2019

US-Japan Cross-Border Learning Journey 2019 in Obuse, Tokyo and online
~ Journey to Learn and Collaborate across Boundaries

◆◇◆Business Leaders and Social Entrepreneurs, Sign Up by May 17th to Join 2019 CBLJ!◆◇◆

日本語ページはこちら. Click here for Japanese page.

Are you interested in accelerating social innovation through collaborating with like-minded peers from international backgrounds across different sectors?
WIT is seeking participants for our Summer 2019 Cross-Border Learning Journey. Participants will have an opportunity to learn and work with a diverse group of individuals including social entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, business professionals, and more.

●Date:  2019/7/17 Wednesday – 7/22 Monday (Partial participation is possible for regular admission.)
●Application due for Fellows:  2019/3/31 
●Sign-up due for regular participants:  2019/5/17 (Sign-up will be closed once all the seats are taken.)
●Online info session: Hosted on 2019/3/13, 3/19, and 3/29. Please contact us for individual info session.

What is Cross-Border Learning Journey

Cross Border Learning Journey (CBLJ) is an eight-month program that includes six-days in Japan. It will bring together a learning cohort of US-Japan participants from diverse fields in order to accelerate their leadership skills and create a lasting impact for a better world.
CBLJ is an action learning program for social innovation, where social entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, and business professionals collaborate to harness their different skills and experience in order to accelerate mission-driven organizations.

1. Encounter

Participants will meet and deepen understanding with each other through sharing their work, experience, passion, and ambition.


2. Broaden Capacity

Participants will learn skills and mindset for effective collaborations across boundaries, and useful frameworks to develop mission-driven organizations. Through these group discussions and workshops, participants will gain skills and insights to develop their leadership.


3. Embody Future

After the trip in Japan, participants will form small peer groups and continue collaborating virtually to support each other’s vision.

We are looking for…

・Social entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders;
・Business leaders including CSR, CSV, HR, and business development;
・Anyone who wants to utilize their skills and experience to support mission-driven organizations;
・Anyone who wants to develop cross-sector leadership;
・Anyone who wants to co-create a new type of learning community where a diverse group of people collaborate to solve social issues and make the world a better place.





1. Before departure

・WIT will have individual interviews with each participant to better understand where he/she is and wants to be.
・Participants will connect virtually.
・WIT will host an online session to craft elevator pitches for Japanese participants, where English-speaking participants also help the process.


2. Program in Japan

・2019/7/17 Wednesday – 7/22 Monday *Fellows are required to participate on all dates. Regular participants can attend partially.
・Japanese-English interpretation is available
・Hosting organization: WIT
・Co-hosting organization: Obuse Town Innovation Hub


The Week’s Agenda
7/17 Wed.- Day 1 【Cross-Border Leadership】
Orientation. Leadership workshop. Welcome dinner. Stay in Tokyo.
7/18 Thu.- Day 2 【End Game】
Social entrepreneurs’ session. Workshop on the growth and end game of mission-driven organizations. Stay in Tokyo.
7/19 Fri.- Day 3 【Presencing Dialogue】
Leave Tokyo for Obuse, Nagano. Social entrepreneurs’ session. Workshop on different discussion modes for effective collaboration. Stay in Obuse.
7/20 Sat.- Day 4 【Systems Change】
Social entrepreneurs’ session. Workshop on systems change. Reception in Obuse. Stay in Obuse.
7/21 Sun.- Day 5 【Peer Group Collaboration】
Form peer groups. Workshop on business and funding models of mission-driven organizations. Stay in Obuse.
7/22 Mon.- Day 6 【Emerging Agenda】
Discussion and action planning in peer groups. Closing. Leave Obuse for Tokyo.
※ For those who partially attend the program, we highly recommend attending at least 7/20 and 7/21.
※ Itinerary details are subject to change.


3. Program after Learning Journey in Japan

・Participants who have joined the peer groups will continue collaborating and mentoring virtually on a regular basis through monthly online meeting.


Program Fee

Category Program fee (1 USD = 110 JPY) Application due and other notes
Fellows: limited to 16 participants Free – Application due: 2019/3/31
– Selection based on application form and interview
– We are looking for a total of 16 fellows from US and Japan, either social entrepreneurs, business persons, or professionals from diverse fields.
– Fellows are required to attend the entire program.
– If you are selected as a social entrepreneur fellow, up to two individuals from the same organization may participate in the program.
General participants 100,000 JPY (US$900) for six-day program
18,000 JPY (US$162) per day for partial participants
– RSVP due: Either 2019/5/17 or once all the seats are filled, whichever occurs first. (capacity: 14 participants)
– You can participate in all or part of the program.
WIT Members (with 100,000 JPY+ annual membership) Free RSVP due: 2019/5/17
You can participate in all or part of the program.
WIT Members (with less than 100,000 JPY annual membership) 10,000 JPY (US$90) per day RSVP due: 2019/5/17
You can participate in all or part of the program.

* The program fee includes lunch during the program, workshop materials, interpretation, workshop venues and other program-related costs.
* The program fee does not include participants’ transportation, accommodations or meals. The expected total expenses for the six-day program after arriving in Japan is approximately 100,000 JPY (US$900).
* If you are selected as a fellow, you will be asked to pay a deposit of 10,000 JPY (US$90) to cover part of your meals during the program.


How to Apply

Please submit this application form.
●Fellowship (social enterprises and nonprofit organizations):   Application due is 2019/3/31. Applicants will be first screened based on the application form and organizational information, and then the finalists will be selected based on individual interviews.
●Fellowship (individuals):   Application due is 2019/3/31. Applicants will be first screened based on the application form, and then the finalists will be selected based on individual interviews.
●General participants:   Sign-up will be closed once all the seats are taken. Participants will be individually interviewed after submitting the form.

Online Info Session

Online info sessions were hosted on March 13th, 19th, and 29th, 2019. Please contact us for individual info session after April. Mio Yamamoto, WIT Executive Director, will talk about CBLJ’s benefits and content, and answer to your questions.

Who Will Be on the Journey?

(We will update information on our team here.)

Mio Yamamoto
WIT Executive Director, main facilitator and lecturer during CBLJ
Mio’s profile

Fumie Kobayashi
WIT Director, facilitator and lecturer during CBLJ
Fumie’s profile

Yumiko Murai
A postdoctoral associate at MIT Media Lab. R&D Coordinator of WIT CBLJ.
Yumiko’s research focus is online social learning experiences.
Yumiko’s profile

Past Journeys and Participants

A diverse group of participants has joined CBLJs in the past, including social entrepreneurs, business executives, young professionals, creators, journalists, nonprofit executives and more.

●Examples of past participants
– Christina Ahmadjian, Board of Director, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and Japan Exchange Group, Inc.: Professor, Hitotsubashi University (Tokyo)
– Keitaro Fujishima, CEO, Recruit Management Solutions Co.,Ltd. (Tokyo)
– Geoffrey Hoefer, Founder, Omomuki Foundation (NY)
– Mary Kearns, Founder, Your Stellar Self (VA)
– Samjhana Khanal, Independent international development consultant, – – Ashoka (NY)
– Zakcq Lockrem, Asakura Robinson (TX)
– Erika Ogawa, CEO, Guinness World Records Japan K.K (Tokyo)
– Ryota Sekine, Cofounder, Fitness Cubed Inc.(IL)
– Lori Matsukawa, Anchor, KING 5 News (WA)

●Examples of past participating social entrepreneurs:
– Asuiku (Education and poverty alleviation)
– Chimichi (Rural community development)
– SEELS (Job creation for immigrants and ethnic minorities)
– Replus (Preventive nursing care)
– Mammaru Mama Iwate (Pre and postnatal care)
– Urushi Rocks (Traditional artisanship for sustainable society)
– Watari Green Belt Project (Recovery and conservation of coastal forests)
– Minamisoma Science Lab (Education using local wisdom and resources)

Past CBLJ report examples


●Contact us: Please contact us at info(at)worldintohoku.org for questions and inquiries. 
●Cancellation policy:
  ・Fellows: No cancellation fee until May 17th, 2019. 50% of the deposit (10,000 JPY (US$90)) is refundable if the fellow cancelled participation before June 18th, 2019. The deposit is non-refundable if cancelled on or after June 18th.
  ・General participants and WIT members: No cancellation fee until June 30th, 2019. 90% of the program fee is refundable if cancelled before July 10th, 2019. 50% of the program fee is refundable if cancelled before July 14th, 2019. The program fee is not refundable if cancelled on or after July 14th, 2019.
●How to pay a deposit/program fee: You can pay via Paypal (US$ or JPY), vemmo (US$), or wire transfer to Japanese bank account.
●Minimum number of participants: 16 people. Maximum number of participants: 30
●All information submitted in the application form is considered confidential and is used only for selection purposes except the information that was already public knowledge before the disclosure of the information.
●Exemption clause:
  ・WIT is not liable for any injury, loss, damage, accident, delay, irregularity, or additional expense arising from any causes in connection with WIT’s Cross-Border Learning Journey.
  ・WIT reserves the right, at its discretion, to change the content or cancel the Cross-Border Learning Journey.
  ・WIT recommends that all the participants take out travel insurance.


We will update Q&As as we answer questions in our info sessions.

Q.  What is the selection criteria for fellows?
A.  When selecting fellows (whether for individual fellows or social enterprise/nonprofit fellows), we look for four elements – “Collaboration” (are you interested in collaborating with other participants from the US and Japan from diverse fields?); “Social impact” (how your participation in CBLJ will contribute to greater social impact through the work and activities of yours and other participants?); “Commitment” (are you committed to collaborating with other participants over the course of the eight-month program?); “Leadership” (can you proactively participate in this experiment to collaborate with diverse participants both online and offline?).

Q.  Is there any requirement (organization budget etc.) to apply for fellows as social enterprises and nonprofits?
A.  Any organization is welcome to apply as long as you have a social mission, regardless of legal entity and size of the organization. You will need, however, to have a certain organizational capacity (human resources and time commitment) to collaborate with other participants during the program.

Q.  Can I attend the program with my family?
A.  WIT is committed to inclusive culture through allowing participants to bring family members to our programs. We had participants in the past Learning Journeys who came with their children and partners. Please let us know if you would like to do so.

Q.  Is there financial support to cover my transportation and accommodation?
A.  We might be able to provide financial support for Fellows to cover part of their transportation and accommodation; however, we won’t be able to announce whether we can and how much before May 2019. We will keep selected fellows updated.