Expanding Global Networks through the 2013 JCI Academy

July 30, 2013

26th JCI Academy Graduate

From July 4 to 13, JCI delegates gathered in Fukuyama, Japan to experience local culture and exchange best practices for strong leadership and projects.

Comprised of 99 Japanese delegates and 65 international delegates, 164 aspiring JCI National Organization leaders from around the world participated in workshops, meetings and discussions on new and exciting ways to manage and motivate successful JCI Organizations. The theme of the 2013 JCI Academy was “Tsunagari,” signifying bonds, connections and expanding various networks. Delegates focused on moving beyond the simple awareness of differences between history, culture and customs and learning to embrace and understand these differences. This theme was chosen to give delegates the opportunity to further explore the global realization of world peace.

Exploring Fukuyama Sights and Culture
Before the JCI Academy began, delegates spent three nights with local Japanese families. Delegates immersed themselves in cultural traditions such as cuisine, etiquette and the Japanese language. Delegates also visited five local primary schools where they were involved in projects, discovering more about Japanese curriculum and interacting with the children. The students greeted these international young active citizens with harp and drum performances. The delegates played traditional Japanese games with the students and planted trees of roses as a parting gift to always remember their time together.

Following their daily activities, Academy participants explored the town where their host family lived. They visited famous sites such as the Shinto Shrine and the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park. During the Academy, delegates also had time in the host city of Fukuyama, learning more about the different cultures present in the city and how to act in an urban Japanese environment. They experienced and toured some of the local sights and sounds of Fukuyama. These cultural adventures allowed the delegates to explore the city visiting famous landmarks such as Fukuyama Castle and Sensuijima Island and national park, along with a variety of historic temples and shrines. Delegates also participated in a traditional Sedo tea ceremony.

Collaborating for Sustainable Positive Change
The 2013 JCI Academy consisted of nine modules, which included a series of trainings, seminars and open discussion used to identify the delegates’ strengths and weaknesses when working, interacting and planning projects with fellow members and leaders. Led by 2006 JCI President Lars Hajslund, the modules focused on teaching the participants how to use their strengths to motivate their members and tackle challenges by forming positive solutions in their Local and National Organizations. Topics of these modules included mutual understanding, forming strong friendships, creating a vision for world peace and activating leadership skills. After exchanging ideas and discussing future goals of the organization, many of the modules concluded with a group presentation. This ability to share thoughts and help each other work through problems and create interactive, informative presentations is essential for a successful JCI leader.

One unique portion of this year’s Academy included a JCI Active Citizen Framework-based project for the local citizens of Fukuyama. Delegates spilt into groups, conducted an extensive needs analysis and formed project plans based on creating solutions to these needs. Due to these activities, Fukuyama citizens now have a variety of projects and ideas to work with to improve their city in a sustainable way. This activity allowed the delegates to put their hard work and understanding of the JCI Active Citizen Framework in action and give back to the generous host community.

After the completion of the training modules, each attended a gala dinner and participated in the formal graduation ceremony. Marching with their national flags, the delegates received a diploma, a pin from JCI President Chiara Milani and recited the JCI Academy Oath.

Delegates concluded their experience at the 2013 JCI Academy with a renewed spirit of active citizenship and creative ideas on how to create sustainable impact, locally and globally as dedicated, strong leaders.