TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program Gears Up for U.S. Tour

48 female Japanese university students will arrive in nation’s capital on March 22 for weeklong tour.

WASHINGTON – The future of our global economy depends on more women playing an active role in it. In Japan, which is feeling the effects of an aging workforce – that future is now.

Since 2013, the TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program (TMWLP), launched by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and the TOMODACHI initiative and sponsored and supported by MetLife Inc., has paired highly-motivated female university students with mid-career professionals to build a network of Japanese women who show promise as the nation’s next generation of leaders.

As part of this 10-month mentorship program, Cultural Vistas, in conjunction with the U.S.-Japan Council, has organized and will administer a weeklong professional tour for 48 female Japanese university students focused on how women achieve success in the modern economy. This exchange initiative will begin in the nation’s capital on Tuesday, March 22 and include a visit to New York, before concluding in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, March 29.

For the third consecutive year, Cultural Vistas has designed a diverse U.S. tour itinerary that will highlight leadership development, specifically as it pertains to women in the workplace, while also deepening the student’s understanding and appreciation for American culture and ideals.

Through substantive conversations and networking with women leaders across a range of professional fields – including Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Sally Schwartz, founder and executive director of the DC Center for Global Education and Leadership, Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-TX), and Shanti Shoji, vice president and co-founder of Kizuna Across Cultures, among others.

While in Washington, D.C., the group will participate in several events focused on a range of topics, including “Women in STEM” and “Japanese Working Women: Journeys to Washington, D.C.” The group will also visit several area higher education institutions, including the University of Maryland, George Washington University, Howard University, and American University. The culmination of the tour will see the participating students create presentations featuring policy recommendations around increasing substantive participation of women in the Japanese workforce, which will be delivered at MetLife’s headquarters in New York.

Cultural Vistas maintains a longstanding relationship with Japan and seeks to strengthen this bond as it forges ahead with efforts to establish new and enduring partnerships. Since 1990, Cultural Vistas has worked together with global partners to exchange and connect more than 3,000 Japanese and American students and young professionals with opportunities to enhance their careers and promote a global perspective.

About Cultural Vistas
Founded in 1963, Cultural Vistas is a nonprofit exchange organization promoting global understanding and collaboration among individuals and institutions. We develop international professional experiences that create more informed, skilled, and engaged citizens. Our programs empower people to drive positive change in themselves, their organizations, and society. Cultural Vistas is headquartered in New York with regional offices in Washington, D.C. and Berlin. Learn more at

Follow @CulturalVistas on Twitter

About the TOMODACHI Initiative

The TOMODACHI Initiative is a public-private partnership, born out of support for Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake, that invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges, as well as leadership programs. The initiative seeks to foster a “TOMODACHI Generation” of young American and Japanese leaders who are committed to and engaged in strengthening US-Japan relations, appreciating each other’s countries and cultures, and possessing the global skills and mindsets needed to contribute to and thrive in a more cooperative, prosperous, and secure world. Learn more at

Follow @TOMODACHI on Twitter