Cultural Vistas to Celebrate U.S.-Japan Friendship at Awards Gala

NEW YORK — Cultural Vistas will commemorate more than five decades of nurturing the U.S.-Japan Friendship through educational and professional exchange programs at the Cultural Vistas Awards Gala on Thursday, October 17 at the Tribeca Rooftop in Lower Manhattan.

In recognition of their exemplary contributions to advancing friendship, understanding, and effective collaboration between the United States and Japan, Cultural Vistas’ 2019 Global Partnership Award will be jointly presented to representatives from the following partner organizations:

Cultural Vistas has a long and rich history of exchanges with Japan – the first intern from Japan it sponsored arrived in Minneapolis in 1964 to work at Donaldson Company (now Donaldson Filtration Systems), which has become a global leader in engine and industrial air and oil filtration systems – including operations in Japan.

Since this inaugural training program, Cultural Vistas has worked with institutional partners to exchange more than 3,000 Japanese and American citizens across a variety of formats–helping to bring a global perspective to U.S. and Japanese business operations, advance university internationalization efforts, and connect American and Japanese young professionals with internships and an array of opportunities to enhance their education and careers.

Cultural Vistas has partnered with the Tokyo-based Institute for Japan International Practical Training (JIPT) since 1990 to bring Japanese professionals to the United States to complete work-based internship and traineeships as part of the U.S. Department of State’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. This collaboration has provided pathways for more than 300 Japanese companies, organizations, and universities to effectively train and educate its employees and students in the U.S. market.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories, known as MERL, is the North American arm of the corporate R&D division of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. MERL has been hosting international interns and trainees through Cultural Vistas’ J-1 Visa sponsorship since 1997. MERL’s internships provide opportunities for motivated PhD students to learn from, and work alongside, some of the world’s leading experts in Physical Modeling, Simulation, Signal Processing, Optimization, Control and Artificial Intelligence.

Strengthening the educational foundations of the U.S.-Japan Friendship has been the focal point of Cultural Vistas’ work together with CULCON, the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation, and Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission in supporting the TeamUp campaign to foster strategic relationships between universities in the two nations. TeamUp grew out of an initiative started by President Kennedy in the 1960s and was championed during the term of Ambassador Caroline Kennedy in the second Obama Administration. Between 2016-2018, this effort to improve student mobility included meetings of university provosts in Washington and Tokyo, presentations at NAFSA and the Association of Asian Studies National Conferences, the development and implementation of study tours to Japan for university provosts and senior international officers, and the administration of a small grants program for American universities to build partnerships with their Japanese counterparts.

Since 2014, Cultural Vistas has worked in conjunction with the U.S.-Japan Council to organize weeklong professional tours of the United States as part of the TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program. Each spring, this exchange initiative brings 50 Japanese female university students to New York City and Washington, D.C. for a diverse professional itinerary focused on leadership development.

Established in 2018, the Cultural Vistas Awards Gala recognizes individuals and institutions for their influence and notable contributions toward the advancement of global skills, leadership development, and cross-cultural understanding. This signature event brings together leaders from across the business, education, government, and diplomatic communities for an evening celebrating the diversity of people, ideas, knowledge, and skills shared through international exchange.

Recipients of Cultural Vistas’ annual awards will be recognized at the 2019 Cultural Vistas Awards Gala on Thursday, October 17 at the Tribeca Rooftop in Lower Manhattan.

To purchase Gala tickets and support the mission of Cultural Vistas, please visit:

About Cultural Vistas
Founded in 1963, Cultural Vistas is a nonprofit exchange organization whose mission is to enrich minds, advance global skills, build careers, and connect lives through international exchange. Cultural Vistas develops international professional experiences that create more informed, skilled, and engaged citizens. Every year, Cultural Vistas’ 30-plus unique exchange programs empower people in the United States and in more than 130 countries around the world to drive positive change in themselves, their organizations, and society.

Learn more at

Cultural Vistas Global Partnership Award Recipients

2019     U.S.-Japan Friendship


2018     University of Waterloo