Strengthening Civil Society Ties after 3/11: Lessons from the US-Japan Experience

Washington DC | March 20, 2015

Organized by: Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE)
Hosted at: Institute of International Education (IIE)

Many experts proclaimed that the massive March 2011 disaster would be a turning point for the Japanese nonprofit sector, but what effect has it really had? Furthermore, the tragedy brought together a range of civil society actors from Japan and overseas, but how much of a lasting impact has this had in expanding international ties among civil society organizations in Japan and the United States? This seminar, co-hosted by the Institute of International Education (IIE), assessed the ways in which Japanese civil society and US-Japan civil society cooperation have changed after 3/11, as well as what can be done now to consolidate their new connections and ensure they remain vibrant.


Opening Remarks

Nancy Overholt, Director, International Visitor Leader Programs, IIE

James Gannon, Executive Director, JCIE/USA

Session 1: Taking Stock—The Impact of 3/11 on Japanese Civil Society & US-Japan Ties
How much has the Japanese nonprofit sector changed as a result of its mobilization for the 3/11 response? Many NGOs and NPOs expanded their activities to aid Tohoku, but how much of that capacity has been retained? Also, what role did the ties between Japanese and US civil society play in the 3.11 response? How did Japanese and US organizations manage to cooperate, and what lasting impact is 3/11 likely to have on US-Japan civil society linkages?

Moderator: Peter Kelley, President, National Association of Japan-America Societies

Katsuji Imata, Executive Director, Japan NPO Center

Atsuko Geiger, Director of Operations, JCIE/USA

Mio Yamamoto, Managing Director, WiT (World in Tohoku)

Session 2: Moving Forward—Strengthening US-Japan Collaboration
How do we consolidate the advances made in terms of US-Japan civil society cooperation in responding to 3/11? What can we do to ensure that civil society organizations in both countries are both resilient enough and sufficiently networked with one another to deal with the other major challenges facing us? How do we utilize the experience that Japanese and US NGOs had in responding together in Tohoku to cooperate more effectively elsewhere around the world?

Moderator: David Janes, Director of Foundation Grants, US-Japan Foundation

Mari Kuraishi, Co-founder & President, Global Giving

James Schoff, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

James Gannon, Executive Director, JCIE/USA

Closing Remarks