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The following article is a guest post written by Thea Louise Dai, an alumna of the Spring 2022 China Scholars Program. In April 2022, Thea met Wendy Wen, an alumna of the Spring 2022 Stanford e-China Program. Currently, Thea Louise is a junior at Castilleja School in Palo Alto, California, and Wendy Wen is a junior at Beijing National Day School in Beijing, China.

In April 2022, I met Wendy Wen through a collaboration between the China Scholars Program (CSP) and Stanford e-China. Five months later, we are working together to prepare the first synchronous Zoom discussion at Project 17—a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization we founded dedicated to initiating global dialogue through synchronous discussions about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.

The CSP and Stanford e-China collaboration was no doubt my most stimulating academic experience to date. The two programs held four joint discussions on various climate issues over the course of several weeks. With the rare opportunity to bridge geographical and cultural divides, I finally had a chance to apply everything I had learned about China’s history, policies, and current events throughout the program in conversation with actual Chinese students, from whom I learned new perspectives. Although we only had to participate in one of the synchronous discussions, I found myself looking forward to each meeting and rearranging my schedule to attend all four.

The CSP and Stanford e-China collaboration was no doubt my most stimulating academic experience to date.

Wendy recalls that she had a similarly eye-opening experience during the meetings. She noted, “I have always believed that the world’s largest challenges can be solved through global collaboration. After every discussion with the CSP, I left feeling inspired to know that such collaboration is possible, even for high school students.”

After meeting each other through a breakout room conversation, we immediately connected on the need for a global discussion platform targeted towards youth perspectives. Essentially, we hoped to capture the value of our experience with SPICE, and we wanted to make it even more accessible and on a larger scale. We also wanted to clear a pathway for participants to take the next steps to create tangible change on the SDGs after our discussions.

As a result, we conceptualized Project 17 in part to partner with the chapter system of the United Nation Association of the USA (UNA-USA) so that high school and college students have the unique opportunity to connect with UNA-USA officials and members across the United States. Our vision is for all participants to be able to share their perspectives on the SDGs to inform the UNA-USA chapter system. We’re also working with Stanford e-China Instructor Carey Moncaster and CSP Instructor Tanya Lee of SPICE to publish the SDG-related research and reflections of participants on larger platforms.

Project 17 hosts four annual synchronous Zoom discussions, each focused on a particular group of SDGs: Planet, People, Prosperity, and Peace & Partnership. Our first discussion about the planet will take place in November 2022 and run for two hours. Interested students can complete the registration form on the Project 17 website to apply for an opportunity to hear from SDG advocates, learn from NGO leaders, and participate in breakout room discussions with youth leaders around the world. High school and college students based in any country are eligible to participate.

Project 17 discussion structure
Project 17 discussion structure; photo courtesy Thea Louise Dai

In the span of four months, Project 17’s outreach efforts have reached 51 cities, 47 schools, and five different countries. Participants will build connections with students from different backgrounds and develop a global mindset by engaging with new perspectives. In addition, participants can contribute to asynchronous discussion boards and the Project 17 blog, receive bimonthly newsletters about the SDGs, and receive certified service hours eligible for the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

By incorporating these opportunities into our organization, we hope to create an experience similar to the invaluable experiences that Wendy and I had through the CSP and Stanford e-China. Inspired by SPICE’s impact, we are incredibly excited to start an initiative similarly promoting international and cross-cultural collaboration. Please note that Project 17 is not a Stanford SPICE program.

For more information, visit Project 17’s website (projectseventeen.org) or contact Project 17 at contact@projectseventeen.org.

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Project 17 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization connecting students around the world to address the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.

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Richard Joongu Lee is a Research Data Analyst at the Center on Food Security and the Environment working with David Lobell. His current focus is exploring the combination of geospatial and other data streams to measure outcomes related to sustainable development goals and food security. He received his BA in Earth & Environmental Sciences and MS in Remote Sensing & Geospatial Sciences at Boston University. 

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Stanford e-China has been an incredible academic experience from day one.

My journey with the program started with the interview, which was an enjoyable and memorable experience. I was greeted by a warm smile the moment I entered the Zoom room, and Ms. Carey Moncaster showed genuine interest in learning about me as a person. Rather than focusing on my experiences or achievements, she wanted to know more about my personality, interests, and dreams. Ms. Moncaster and the director of SPICE, Dr. Gary Mukai, have remained passionate advisors and generous mentors to many students even after the course, including me. Over the last year and a half, they were always there when I needed advice on how to proceed with a project or wisdom on dealing with a difficult situation.

The sense of community permeated the course itself, which was designed to be highly interactive. The expert speakers gave insightful lectures, followed by long sessions of Q&A. I can still remember my excitement at being able to ask Mr. Roy Ng, our fintech speaker, three questions after his seminar, where he explained how blockchain could help us reach the unbanked. In fact, my current obsession almost perfectly mirrors that topic—exploring how Central Bank Digital Currencies can help facilitate financial inclusion to mitigate inequality. That session made me realize that social entrepreneurship and tech-based solutions will be key players in upholding justice.

The Q&A was also a chance for my cohort to learn from each other. We bonded over our productive, collaborative, and enthusiastic discussions, and many of us stayed in touch after the course. Over the last year and a half, I have grown to be close friends with my fellow honoree, Jason Li. After meeting in person when he visited Shanghai, we decided to co-found a platform to connect students across the globe. Inspired by the diverse community of brilliant students we saw at Stanford e-China, we developed SPOT. The acronym stands for Student Projects Organized Together, and we hope to bring together an international network of passionate youth. We believe that together, we undertake global initiatives that make tangible impacts. Our website is www.spotaproject.com.

It is not every day that a course leaves such a significant impact, continuing to play a role in my life long after its conclusion.

Last but not least, e-China has helped me with my work in social justice. Design Thinking has not only aided in my endeavors with SPOT but also in my other initiatives, including the Law Association for Crimes Across History (LACAH) mock trial, where we put perpetrators of atrocities on the stand (lacah.net). Dora Gan from my e-China cohort is actually a member of our Youth Council! Design Thinkings methodical approach helped us scale up rapidly, and we were recently honored by the EARCOS Global Citizen Grant.

Throughout high school, I have learned a lot from a wide range of outstanding programs. I have also met many other fabulous peers through them. However, it is not every day that a course leaves such a significant impact, continuing to play a role in my life long after its conclusion. Stanford e-China is truly an exceptional experience. I am very thankful to have been a part of the first cohort.

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Announcing Stanford e-China, a New Stanford University Online Course for High School Students in China

Announcing Stanford e-China, a New Stanford University Online Course for High School Students in China
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The following reflection is a guest post written by Nathan Chan, an alumnus and honoree of the 2021 Stanford e-China Program, which is accepting student applications until September 1, 2022.

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SPICE is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2022 term of the China Scholars Program, an intensive, college-level online course on contemporary China for U.S. high school students. The China Scholars Program (CSP) is open to rising 10th, 11th, and 12th graders across the United States.

Stanford University China Scholars Program for high school students
Fall 2022 session (late August through December)
Application period: April 25 to June 15, 2022

Designed to provide high-achieving high school students a rich and comprehensive online learning experience, the CSP offers college-level instruction provided by scholars from Stanford University and other top-tier colleges and universities that is unparalleled in other distance-learning courses for high school students. During the synchronous virtual classroom sessions, students engage in live discourse with Stanford professors, leading scholars from other universities and organizations, and former diplomats. This unique opportunity to learn directly from noted scholars at the cutting edge of their fields is a distinctive element of the China Scholars Program. Students who complete the course will be equipped with a rare degree of expertise about China and international relations that may have a significant impact on their choice of study and future career.

“This program has been one of the most enriching and fun ones I’ve gotten the chance to participate in,” said Sana Pandey, a recent alum of the program. “I’m beyond grateful to have had the opportunity. Especially during the chaos of COVID and the initial phases of quarantine, CSP was an amazing anchor and a way to make sure I was intellectually engaged while the rest of the world seemed to stagnate. I honestly loved every second.”

More information on the China Scholars Program is available at http://chinascholars.org. Interested high school students should apply now at https://spicestanford.smapply.io/prog/china_scholars_program/. The deadline to apply is June 15, 2022.

To stay updated on SPICE news, join our email list or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


The China Scholars Program is one of several online courses offered by SPICE, Stanford University.


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China Scholars Program: East Asia Through a STEM Lens

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Gary Mukai
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Under the leadership of Carey Moncaster (MA ’94) and Liyi Ye (MA ’16), Stanford e-China recently concluded its Spring 2021 session. Launched in Winter 2020, Stanford e-China, Technologies Changing the World: Design Thinking into Action, is offered twice annually and introduces high school students in China to cutting-edge technologies that are defining the future and providing exciting areas for academic study, professional opportunities, and entrepreneurial innovation. Focusing on the fields of green tech, finance tech, health tech, and artificial intelligence, students engage in live discussion sessions and real-time conversations with Stanford University scholars, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, as well as American high school students. Moncaster partners with Stanford e-China Advisor Liyi Ye and Ye’s team at Third Classroom in Shanghai.

A key challenge in developing Stanford e-China has been finding and refining a framework that encourages students to analyze the challenges facing each of the technologies highlighted in the course and then brainstorm innovative solutions. To showcase the dynamic research and teachings at Stanford University, Moncaster honed in on Design Thinking, a creative-thinking and problem-solving framework widely utilized throughout campus and Silicon Valley. Moncaster explained, “Design Thinking is a very hands-on, interactive, team-based experience that is dependent on critical feedback from other people. Translating the Design Thinking concepts online, with students, scholars, and practitioners virtually scattered across the world, presents an exciting opportunity to create curriculum that effectively introduces the relevant skills and mindset.”

For final projects, Stanford e-China students delve into an area of personal interest in one of the technology fields, applying aspects of the Design Thinking framework to develop a prototype pitch and action plan. Some of the sample projects have focused on improving the accessibility of digital healthcare for China’s rural residents, improving the mental health of Chinese students, utilizing solar energy at rural schools to provide electricity to students at night, and lowering carbon emissions at traditional power plants. Once it has been deemed safe to travel to the United States again, the top three students from each session will be invited to annual ceremonies at Stanford University. During the ceremonies, students will present their pitches and sharpen their Design Thinking skills with Stanford community members present.

Based on feedback from students, a highlight of Stanford e-China has been the chance to collaborate with American high school students studying about China and U.S.–China relations in SPICE’s China Scholars Program (CSP). With the support of CSP instructor Dr. Tanya Lee, the Chinese and American students work together in small groups on WeChat and Canvas to apply Design Thinking to an environmental challenge in their respective communities. In the process, they figure out how to bridge different time zones, tech resources, learning styles, and cultural perspectives.

Moncaster reflected, “Since Tanya, Liyi, and I are trying to cultivate future leaders in U.S.–China relations, we are hoping to increase the interaction between the students in Stanford e-China and the China Scholars Program. It has been fascinating to hear them discuss not only cutting-edge technologies but also how they can serve as change agents and address topics such as social inequality.” She continued, “Thanks to our inspiring guest speakers and the robust dialogue between my students and the CSP students, I am confident that many of my students have been inspired to become social entrepreneurs of the future. I also hope that some of my students will consider applying to Stanford as undergraduates or graduate students.”

Thanks to our inspiring guest speakers and the robust dialogue between my students and the CSP students, I am confident that many of my students have been inspired to become social entrepreneurs of the future.
Carey Moncaster

In terms of next steps, Moncaster and Ye hope to shift some of their attention to training schoolteachers in China—including the regular schoolteachers of their Stanford e-China students—via professional development seminars. SPICE Instructor Dr. Mariko Yoshihara Yang and Dr. Rie Kijima already offered one such seminar, which focused on Design Thinking. SPICE hopes to offer additional seminars to teachers in China on Design Thinking as well as other pedagogically focused strategies such as Project-Based Learning.

SPICE is seeking support to broaden its work with Stanford e-China, the China Scholars Program, and teacher professional development in China.

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SPICE seeks to expand its offerings to students and teachers in China.

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Kristine Pashin
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At first, I almost didn’t apply to the Reischauer Scholars Program (RSP). As someone with primarily Eastern European heritage, I doubted that I had a unique perspective to add to a coalition of students dedicated to learning more about Japan’s rich culture, economics, history, and society. In my mind, my personal experience couldn’t have been further from the course’s content. However, as a recent graduate of the RSP, my experience has completely shattered my previous misconceptions. Stanford’s RSP isn’t just an online program that gives students a comprehensive, in-depth view of Japan—it brings together a community of academically and socially diverse individuals from across the United States, along with their manifold perspectives, to build future leaders in the U.S.–Japan relationship. 

My experience has completely shattered my previous misconceptions.

My path to the RSP began in Model United Nations (MUN) and my tenth-grade world history class that encouraged me to delve deeper into the political and ideological theories that govern and shape our society. Japan was a major focus for multiple of my MUN conferences, where I descended into multiple Wikipedia rabbit-holes on a wide range of topics, from Japan’s stance on sustainable development to socio-political effects on Japanese gender equality quotas. Furthermore, throughout my dual enrollment in a MicroMasters program in international jurisprudence and a course on East Asian culture and law, I learned more about the intricacies of Japan’s Eurocentric depiction in the geo-political sphere. In the international law resources I was exposed to, Japan was often portrayed as “lawless,” while the Western legal system was presented as the “key” to maintaining a proper rule of law in East Asia. Through the latter course which focused on the intersection between Japanese culture and law, Japanese law was accurately shown as an extension of the rich Japanese culture I had learned about in my history classes; in this regard, each cultural facet needed to be taken into account with the legal theory of the state. Since then, I’ve been hooked on understanding the role of implicit motives in shaping international policy and cultural precedent in jurisprudence. At the RSP, I have been able to pursue my passions alongside like-minded peers.

At the RSP, I have been able to pursue my passions alongside like-minded peers. 

From the first week of the RSP, the diversity of students was evident. Each of my fellow peers offered their own outlook on topics ranging from “Religions in Japan” to “The Power of Popular Culture.” Across online forums and virtual classrooms, complex concepts were thoroughly discussed through witty back-and-forth banter, new ideas were buttressed by comprehensive research, and interconnected themes were explored via collaboration. The RSP’s inclusive and dynamic environment was one of my favorite aspects of the program. Weekly Zoom meetings with our instructor, Ms. Naomi Funahashi, and my peers allowed me to grasp unfamiliar concepts and take a deep dive into the things I didn’t previously know through active engagement. Moreover, at each virtual classroom, we had the opportunity to meet government officials, business leaders, and scholars at the forefront of U.S.–Japan relations. Each speaker’s ideas will forever retain importance to my understanding of the Japanese American experience, which remains equally relevant in the modern day.

The RSP’s commitment to educating the future leaders of the U.S.–Japan relationship is shown in its culmination. Near the final months of the 20-week RSP, students are given the opportunity to explore a topic of their choosing related to Japan or the U.S.–Japan dynamic. In my final paper, titled “The Rite of Rights: An Examination of Socio-Cultural Precedent in Japanese Law,” I coalesced my RSP education with my interest in international and Japanese jurisprudence. Even after its conclusion, the RSP continues the discussion on U.S.–Japan relations for the years to come by compiling and sharing all the research papers written within that year’s program. 

Ultimately, I am grateful to the Reischauer Scholars Program for creating a mosaic of different experiences and cultures by bringing together my peers. Throughout my involvement in the RSP, I have strengthened my belief in the cross-cultural intersections that bind us all together. It is through these bonds, along with empathy and compassion, that the RSP helps students weave themselves into the U.S.–Japan international tapestry, shaping the world. 


The next session of the Reischauer Scholars Program will run from February to June 2022. The application will open September 6, 2021.

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Live Long and Prosper… and Stand Back

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The following reflection is a guest post written by Kristine Pashin, an alumna of the Reischauer Scholars Program, which will begin accepting student applications on September 6, 2021.

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HyoJung Jang
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It has been another exciting year for the Sejong Korea Scholars Program (SKSP), an intensive online course on Korean history and culture and U.S.–Korea relations for U.S. high school students. Some of the highlights from this year include the all-star lineup of guest speakers, a revamped curriculum that added an introduction to Korean American history and experience, and a diverse cohort of 23 intellectually curious and hard-working students. 

Each year, scholars and experts join students in Virtual Classroom (VC) sessions to share their scholarly knowledge and expertise on given topics. This year, the lineup of speakers included Professor Danny Leipziger from George Washington University, Professors Kyeyoung Park and Namhee Lee from UCLA, and Ambassador Mark Lippert, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea.

Students learned in detail about South Korea’s rapid economic development after the Korean War from Professor Danny Leipziger, who worked as Senior Country Economist for South Korea in the 1980s during his tenure at the World Bank. With Professor Namhee Lee, students examined the complex and intricate relations among the countries involved in the Korean War; and with Ambassador Mark Lippert, they explored recent developments in U.S.–South Korea relations.

This year, students were introduced to Korean American history within the context of broader Asian American history. They also learned about race relations between Korean Americans and other ethnic communities in the United States from Professor Kyeyoung Park, the author of LA Rising: Korean Relations with Blacks and Latinos after Civil Unrest (2019).

Students expressed their excitement to engage with the scholars and experts in VCs. Likewise, all of the scholars and experts who joined as guest speakers mentioned how much they enjoyed meeting the students and how they were impressed by the insights with which students asked their questions.

Each year, students from across the United States apply to participate in the competitive SKSP, which offers undergraduate-level content and rigor. Not too surprisingly, this year’s cohort of students demonstrated a strong intellectual curiosity, active participation in sharing their diverse perspectives and synthesis of the readings and lectures, and an excellent work ethic shown in assignments and a research paper. Many students mentioned how much they enjoyed interacting with their peers in the course, particularly in discussions, where they engaged in vibrant conversations about the course content in a respectful and positive manner. Many students frequently shared relevant external resources that they had found, which contributed to the richness of the discussion.

Student Clara Boyd commented, “It has been so rewarding and fun for me to complete the readings/lectures … and then discuss ideas with classmates, and it was really cool to have the opportunity to meet with different scholars and experts during the VCs. I always looked forward to interacting with the guest speakers and my classmates on Wednesday evenings! This program has been so impactful and eye-opening, and my perspective of Korea and the world has changed a lot since I started SKSP.”

Many of the students, who are taking multiple AP courses and participating in various extracurricular activities, mentioned that they have never learned much about Korea in their history courses. They are often surprised when they learn about Korean history that involves the United States and the long history of relations between the United States and Korea.

Some of the aims of the SKSP are to provide students with various perspectives on history, encourage them to develop critical thinking skills in assessing historical documents and evidence, and challenge them to interrogate common historical narratives and understand the complexities of history written from different perspectives. The analytic tools that students are encouraged and trained to develop in the SKSP will be a valuable tool as they continue to grow and expand as students and future leaders.


SPICE also offers online courses to U.S. high school students on Japan (Reischauer Scholars Program) and China (China Scholars Program), as well as other student programs for students abroad.

To stay informed of SPICE news, join our email list and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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Students in Stanford’s SKSP online course learn about Korea from many angles, including both traditional and contemporary Korean culture.
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The Largest Cohort of High School Students Successfully Completes the SKSP Online Course on Korea at Stanford

The Largest Cohort of High School Students Successfully Completes the SKSP Online Course on Korea at Stanford
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Twenty-three students completed SPICE’s 2021 Sejong Korea Scholars Program.

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SPICE’s Manager of Curriculum and Instructional Design Rylan Sekiguchi was announced this week as the recipient of the 2021 Franklin R. Buchanan Prize for his authorship of What Does It Mean to Be an American? The prize is awarded annually by the Association for Asian Studies, which will formally honor Sekiguchi in a ceremony at 2pm PDT on March 24, 2021. This is the third time that Sekiguchi has won the award.

SPICE co-developed the website for What Does It Mean to Be an American? with the Mineta Legacy Project. What Does It Mean to Be an American? was inspired by the life of Secretary Norman Mineta, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton and U.S. Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush. President Clinton, President Bush, and Secretary Mineta contributed video interviews for the website.


Established in 1995 by the AAS Committee on Educational Issues and Policy and the Committee on Teaching about Asia, the Franklin R. Buchanan Prize is awarded annually to recognize an outstanding pedagogical, instructional, or curriculum publication on Asia designed for K–12 and college undergraduate instructors and learners.

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Rylan Sekiguchi receives Buchanan Prize for his work on Cambodia

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SPICE Wins Buchanan Prize for Fifth Time

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Rylan Sekiguchi was announced this week as the recipient of the 2021 Franklin R. Buchanan Prize for his authorship of What Does It Mean to Be an American?

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Hikaru Suzuki
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The Stanford e-Japan Program provided me with the opportunity to take insightful lectures by front runners in various fields (for example, ambassadors, lawyers, and university professors), and to participate in absolutely riveting virtual classrooms, during which we could confer and raise questions about issues pertaining to the lectures.

Not only was it an intellectually enriching program providing extensive knowledge about the United States, I believe it was one of the turning points in my life.
Hikaru Suzuki

It was my gateway to cross-cultural understanding and international studies, and it was the key to finding my passion, as I realized that law and business were my specific areas of interests. The program pushed me to seek further education in those fields and learn more intensively.

In high school, I conducted comparative research between India and Pakistan, analyzing honor killing court cases dating back to the late 19th century, judicial systems, etc. I realized how law can reinforce social norms by signaling approval and dissent through legal decisions, and how a revision of judicial systems can have massive social impact. I decided to major in Japanese law to gain knowledge and insight into these legal regimes domestically, and to pursue my dream of addressing social injustice.

Studying law at the University of Tokyo was both rewarding and invigorating. I had chances to engage in frank discussions with professors about civil procedures and criminal law, scrutinize documents, participate in seminars, and write a research paper about criminal prosecutions for defamation in Japan. Whilst taking classes, I also had internship opportunities to see how law was put into practice at a number of domestic and international law firms, and these experiences greatly assisted in developing my practical and theoretical expertise in law.

At the same time, having an interest in business, I launched a project with university peers to tackle food insecurity in Asia with the ultimate aim of reducing social injustice through social entrepreneurship. The idea was to produce an environmentally sustainable source of animal feed and provide a new source of income for the local population. We presented this plan and placed in the top six in the Asian Regional Hult Prize competition—one of the world’s largest international social entrepreneurship competitions for students—and took our project further.

Stanford e-Japan was much more than a virtual classroom, as it introduced me to so many caring and enthusiastic educators who encouraged me to go beyond my limits, and it equipped me with the skills that are essential for learning, such as problem-solving, research, and communication skills. With these skills and personal ties, I intend to keep challenging myself and carrying on my lifelong journey of learning.

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Stanford e-Japan: A Gate for Learning about the United States and a Mirror for Reflection on Japan
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Four Stanford e-Japan Alumni Awarded Yanai Tadashi Foundation Scholarships

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Four Stanford e-Japan Alumni Awarded Yanai Tadashi Foundation Scholarships
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The following reflection is a guest post written by Hikaru Suzuki, a 2015 alumna and honoree of the Stanford e-Japan Program, which is currently accepting applications for Spring 2021.

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