On November 6, 2023, I had the honor of making a visit to Yokohama Eiri Girls’ High School (formerly Takagi Girls’ High School) for the first time since 2019. In fall 2020, Yokohama Eiri Girls’ High School—in collaboration with SPICE—launched Stanford e-Eiri, an online course that introduces global topics that focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Principal and Chair of the Board of Directors of Yokohama Eiri Girls’ High School is Akiko Takagi, who was formally educated in Japan (Keio University) and the UK (MBA, London Business School) and the United States (Northwestern University). The instructor of the course is Mia Kimura, who was formally educated in the United States (Brown University) and Japan (MBA, Hitotsubashi University) and SPICE’s advisor to Yokohama Eiri Girls’ High School is Mariko Yang-Yoshihara, who was also formally educated in both Japan (University of the Sacred Heart) and the United States (PhD, Stanford University).
Mia Kimura noted the following about Stanford e-Eiri:
Stanford e-Eiri aims to provide Eiri’s juniors with a unique opportunity to explore and learn from each other about global issues that directly impact their lives. The primary goal of the course is to equip students with both the knowledge and skills necessary to engage in conversations with counterparts about global issues in English. The course consists of seven modules, each featuring a curriculum developed and facilitated by a group of students. Additionally, each module includes a mini lecture on a supporting topic, delivered by the course instructor. Students are encouraged to select a specific issue, conduct in-depth research, design assignments for their classmates, and ultimately create and facilitate an interactive lesson plan to share their findings, analyses, and recommended actions. This year’s students have chosen to focus on topics such as women’s rights, artificial intelligence, climate change, food waste, and education. The culmination of the course involves a virtual exchange with juniors at Castilleja School, an all-girls high school located in the heart of Silicon Valley.
During my visit, I had the pleasure of giving a guest lecture on “What Does It Mean to Be a Global Citizen?” to students enrolled in Stanford e-Eiri; photo above courtesy Yokohama Eiri Girls’ High School. In my lecture, I shared the following definition of a “global citizen” from Oxfam.
A global citizen is someone who is aware of and understands the wider world—and their place in it. They take an active role in their community and work with others to make our planet more peaceful, sustainable and fairer.
Akiko Takagi (photo above left), Mia Kimura (photo above middle), and Mariko Yang-Yoshihara (photo above right) are three people who come immediately to mind when I think of global citizens who are also excellent role models for girls.
The founder, Kimi Takagi, of Takagi Girls’ High School, founded in 1908, also strikes me as a visionary global citizen from the late 19th and early 20th century. Takagi’s founding vision was “to educate women to become trusted and productive members of the society.” An article about Kimi Takagi by Dr. Yang-Yoshihara can be found here.
As I spoke to the Stanford e-Eiri students, I came to realize again how fortunate the students are to be the recipients of Kimi Takagi’s global vision that is being transmitted to them through Akiko Takagi and the teachers of Yokohama Eiri Girls’ High School and through Mia Kimura’s course, Stanford e-Eiri. Kimura reflected, “I am optimistic that, by challenging the students to take a leadership role in developing the course curriculum, they will not only experience the sense of accomplishment that comes from curiosity-driven learning but also actively contribute to solutions for the issues facing their generation. It’s incredibly rewarding for me to see the enthusiasm the Eiri students bring to their work, and the growth they achieve in our time together.”