Special Exchange Project - ESD Program Details 2018

Japan-U.S. Educational Commission administers the Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to bring together the teachers in the U.S. and Japan to deepen mutual understanding of each other’s educational system and culture through the theme of ESD.

The program is administered with the assistance from the Institute of International Education (IIE) in the U.S., and by the Japan-U.S. Educational Commission.

1. Objectives

The Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) was jointly funded by the governments of Japan and the U.S. This program is designed to introduce innovative Japanese and U.S. K-12 educators' culture and education system, and to enhance ESD-related curricula in both countries. The program aims to raise awareness of ESD-oriented school programs and deepen a sense of global interconnectedness between teachers in Japan and the U.S.

The main theme of the program is Environmental Education, incorporating as appropriate Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as sustainable cities and communities, as well as leveraging Japan’s increased focus on international education and exchange in advance of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The United Nation announced that ESD will play a vital role in developing a generation that can make innovative changes to raise awareness on matters requiring further understanding, such as food and sustainable nutrition, environment, energy and resources, poverty and conflicts. Therefore, the United Nation decided to take on a new initiative that for 10 years, from 2005 to 2015, will be the decade of ESD, and UNESCO will be taking the lead to enhance the ESD-related activities worldwide. In November 2014, the UNESCO World Conference on ESD was held in Nagoya, Japan. The up-to-date results were shared at the conference, and the United Nation re-announced the importance of this program. Furthermore, the "Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development” was adopted as a follow-up of the decade of ESD.

In September 2015, the UN Sustainable Development Summit was held in New York. The General Assembly have decided on new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and adopted "the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development." There are 17 goals and 169 associated targets listed on the 2030 Agenda in order to build on and complete the Millennium Development Goals. The fourth goal of the SDGs is to "Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” Therefore, this Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for ESD contributes to achieve the SDGs, specifically the fourth goal.

"All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan. . . As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind.” ? from 2030 Agenda

2. Program outline

U.S. teachers selected to participate in the 2018 program will be expected to attend the first Joint Conference with Japanese teachers in San Francisco and travel to Japan. A second Joint Conference with all participants will be held in Japan.

Program in the U.S. for Japanese Teachers and First Joint Conference
April 21 (Sat)Japanese teachers gather in Narita
April 22 (Sun)Pre-departure orientation and departure/arrival to Washington, D.C.
April 23 (Mon) - April 25 (Wed)Orientation, lectures, school and ESD resource site visits in D.C.
April 25 (Wed) - April 29 (Sun)School and ESD resource site visits in a host city (TBD) and Homestay
April 29 (Sun)ALL PARTICIPANTS gather in San Francisco Orientation for U.S. teachers
April 30 (Mon) - May 2 (Wed)Joint Conference of Japanese and U.S. teachers featuring presentations, workshops and group discussions
May 3 (Thu)Japanese teachers depart San Francisco; U.S. teachers return home
May 4 (Fri)Japanese teachers arrive in Japan
Program in Japan for U.S. Teachers and Second Joint Conference
June 19 (Tue)U.S. teachers depart for Japan
June 20 (Wed)Arrival in Japan
June 21 (Thu) - June 22 (Fri)Orientation, lectures, school visits in Tokyo
June 23 (Sat) - June 24 (Sun)Travel to a host city (TBD), and homestay
June 25 (Mon) - June 27 (Wed)School and ESD resource site visits, return to Tokyo
June 28 (Thu) - June 30 (Sat)Second Joint Conference featuring presentations, group discussions, and planning of collaborative projects
Japanese teachers return home
July 1 (Sun)U.S. teachers depart Japan and arrive in the U.S.

Eligibility of the U.S. applicants for the Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program

  1. Hold teaching certificates and/or have the equivalent credentials to teach at their schools
  2. Employed as full-time teachers or administrators at primary or secondary level (grades K-12) schools or school districts. Please note that auxiliary personnel (nurses, social workers, guidance counselors, speech pathologists, etc.), as well as university professors, are NOT eligible. Successful candidates must be employed in education for at least one year following their participation in the program.
  3. U.S. citizen at the time of application.
  4. Reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia or a U.S. territory or protectorate.
  5. In principle, have not had a similar experience in Japan (i.e., teaching in or visiting Japanese schools), including prior participation in the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund (JFMF) Teacher Program, with the exception of JFMF educators who demonstrate compelling programmatic responsibilities and/or experience in ESD.
In addition to the above requirements, applicants should demonstrate the following:
  1. Commitment to produce substantive ESD-related curricula, which includes international understanding during and after the program.
  2. Commitment to remain active in the field of education as a primary or secondary school teacher or administrator in order to share experiences gained through this program on a long-term basis (at least 2-3 years) in the classroom, school and community. In order to ensure that recipients will remain engaged in primary or secondary education, the program encourages applications from educators with at least three years of experiences. Teachers and administrators with only one or two years of experience, as well as those nearing retirement, should demonstrate how they intend to remain in the profession.
  3. Must have experiences in implementing school activities related to sustainability and a serious professional interest in developing curricula for ESD.
  4. Must have serious academic/professional interests in curriculum development, teaching methodologies and/or projects and activities related to Japan and ESD.
  5. Must have serious interests in international exchanges, including Japan-U.S. exchange, as a component of ESD activities.
  6. Must be familiar with or willing to use internet-based applications (including email, Google Groups or other social media) to connect and communicate with current and past participants. Program participants are expected to plan and develop collaborative ESD-themed projects during the program and to remain in contact with project partners while the projects are conducted in home schools, usually for a period of six months or longer after the program conclusion.
  7. Must be adaptable and flexible, sensitive to group dynamics, and be a team player
  8. Must be in good health. Submitting a medical self-evaluation form is required.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

For U.S. educators, please visit Questions about Program Arrangements.
For Japanese educators, please view Japanese site.