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

◆◇◆Application CBLJ 2019 is completed. Thank you very much for applying to and joining the program!◆◇◆

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 from a day is welcome for regular participants.)
●Sign-up due for regular participants:  2019/6/15 (Sign-up will be closed once all the seats are taken.)
●Online info session: We are happy to host online individual info sessions. Please contact info(atmark)worldintohoku.org
●Application due for Fellows:  Already closed on 2019/3/31

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 from one day.
・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】
Participants will learn about leadership framework to create impact in the age of uncertainty in collaboration with various stakeholders across different sectors, organizations, regions, and generations. Different modes of effective dialogue and discussion will be introduced to facilitate participants’ learning and reflection. Participants will also have an opportunity to learn about Fellows’ projects for social change. In the evening, welcome dinner will hosted with participants including Fellows, and WIT community members. Stay in Tokyo.
7/18 Thu.- Day 2 【Systems Change】
After a field visit to some of the social entrepreneur Fellows, participants will learn about how to create impactful change at systemic levels. The work session will be led by Change Agent, a pioneer organization in Japan on organizational learning and systems thinking. Participants will apply their learning to some of the social issues Fellows are addressing. Stay in Tokyo.
7/19 Fri.- Day 3 【Half-day session in Obuse】
Free time in the morning for the Fellows to spend in Tokyo to explore social issues of their own interests. In the afternoon, we will leave Tokyo for Obuse, Nagano, and have a work session to learn from Fellows’ various expertise such as advocacy or design thinking for social change. Stay in Obuse.
7/20 Sat.- Day 4 【End Game – Long-term Impact and Organizational Strategy】
In the morning, we will walk around Obuse town to learn about the town’s history of citizen-led community development. In the afternoon, participants will learn about and discuss ultimate social impact they aim and how they can get there through systemic and multi-stakeholder approach. End Game framework introduced in the Stanford Social Innovation Review will be used to promote the discussion. Reception in Obuse with Obuse Innovation Hub. Stay in Obuse.
7/21 Sun.- Day 5 【Peer Group Collaboration】
Participants will have in-depth discussion on how they can tap into their expertise and experience to support each other’s projects toward more sustainable and larger social impact. Discussion topics include business and funding models of mission-driven organizations. Stay in Obuse.
7/22 Mon.- Day 6 【Emerging Agenda】
Participants, especially Fellows, will talk about next actions and agenda for their peer groups. The program will end with lunch and all leave Obuse for Tokyo.
※ For those who partially attend the program, we recommend attending on 7/18, 19, 20 and/or 21 depending on your interests and goals.
※ Itinerary details are subject to change.
※ Contact WIT for more details including the starting/ending time of the program each day.


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 2019/6/15 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: 2019/6/15
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: 2019/6/15
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?

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

Riichiro Oda
Co-Founder, President and CEO, Change Agent Inc.; Lecturer, Tokyo Institute of Technology; Treasurer, International Network of Resources and Information Centers (US); Director, Global Association of SoL Communities (Austria)
Riichiro Oda is a change agent for sustainability and a champion on systems thinking and organizational learning in Japan.His focus is on shared value creation across sectors and capacity development at both individual and organizational levels.
Riichiro’s profile


A diverse group of Fellows – social entrepreneurs and business leaders from the US and Japan – will convene for the CBLJ.
Social issues they are addressing include refugees, climate change, agriculture and fishery, education, community development, QoL for individuals with disabilities, gender equity and more. Business leaders come from HR, CSR, management consulting, urban planning, design and more, who aim to create social impact as well as viable businesses.

Junki AKahori, IT company
Eleanor Carmeli, TOM
Emmanuel Chan, Grid110
Kohei Kuwahara, Co Executive Director, Seven Generations
Haruka Maruno, salesforce.org, salesforce.com Co.,Ltd.
Azumi Nozaki, Co Executive Director, Seven Generations
Tomoya Okamura, Accenture
Shimpei Suga, Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Mayu Takeda, Asakura Robinson
Dora Tamari, WELgee
Sayaka Watanabe, Founder and CEO, WELgee
Kenta Yamamoto, SAVE TAKATA
Coco Ye, Desiner

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.