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“I should never seek a job in my life; my mission in life is to create jobs. I am not a job seeker, I am a job giver.” - Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus. Keeping the above philosophy of Professor Muh Read More... notes from America on missed opportunities of era of spending 4000 times more on global commns

Thursday, December 31, 2009

researching japan 2009-2016 -1000th fold increase in commns tech

Meet our leadership team
Hirofumi Yokoi, Japan
President, Chief Executive Officer
“Regardless of how social innovation is defined, we continue to work together with people and institutions on the intersection between experience and education, and we believe that, through the hybrid, reciprocal practice, the world becomes worth living with mutual empathy and peaceful coexistence.”
Prior to founding Akira Foundation, Hirofumi worked with Abdul Latif Jameel Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon. In this role he was in charge of market research and analytic solutions for social business programs, including the MIT Arab Business Plan Competition (Lebanon) and Grameen-Jameel microfinance joint venture (U.A.E.). He began his professional career as a senior analyst in the automotive industry and was frequently quoted in several major media and newspapers.
Hirofumi has taken numerous advisory roles in American Councils for International Educations, the 5th World Children’s Festival (WCF), Sophia University, Japan, and the World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (theWSIE). He is currently an assistant professor in the Global Leadership Program at the University of Tokyo, Japan.
Hirofumi completed an annual executive program on Financial Institutions for Private Enterprise Development (FIPED) at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He holds a Post-MBA from McGill University and an MBA from the University of San Francisco.
Together with his twin brother, Hirofumi is listed among over 30 innovators changing society in the ‘Innovative Ideas for Business Success’ by Kogan Page, UK in 2013.
Baria Daye, Lebanon
Director, Open Innovation
Baria Daye is a consultant analyst on the Starting a Business indicator at the Doing Business Unit, part of the Financial and Private Sector Development Vice-Presidency at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), The World Bank Group. ( http://www.doingbusiness.org/ ) She also is a passionate civil society activist with an entrepreneurial twist. Particularly interested in youth empowerment and gender issues, Baria founded the Tripoli Youth Forum NGO while still at college, worked as Policy Advocate for Women’s Issues in Lebanon at Vital Voices Global Partnership US-based NGO, and occupied a Board Membership at the Fadila Wassef Fattal Cultural Salon. Holding a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from the American University of Beirut, Baria pursued a graduate academic degree in Business Administration (MBA) at the Lebanese American University. As a result of her diverse background and activism record, she developed a specific interest in tackling social problems from a business perspective through sustainable entrepreneurship, which led to her involvement as Board Member at the Maurice Fadel Prize for the best business plan competition in North Lebanon. She has completed a wide range of international training programmes including: International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) on NGO Management in the U.S., by the U.S. Department of State and thus became member of the Lebanese State Alumni Community (LSAC); Human Rights towards Gender Equality in Sweden, by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Swedish Institute for Public Administration (SIPU), and Uppsala University; Women Entrepreneurship Promotion Executive Program in the Netherlands, by the Maastricht School of Management (MSM). With great enthusiasm, Baria also joined the team working on the World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship 2012 (www.thewsie.org) organized by the Design-Innovation Company “Tranzishen”. She was selected as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2012.
Cesar Santoyo, Philippines
Director, Community Development
Cesar V. Santoyo is the President of Social Enterprise English Language School, which provides middle- and low-income families with innovative and compelling English language teaching services by Filipino migrant women in Japan as certified teachers. Since the Great East Earthquake on March 11, 2011, Cesar has led SEELS and been committed to improving the lives of both underserved Filipino migrant women’s and Japanese people’s across disaster-stricken regions including Fukushima and Sendai, Japan.
Prior to starting SEELS, Cesar founded the Center for Japanese-Filipino Families (CJFF) in 2000 and, as the Executive Director, leads a program to enhance the quality of life for Filipino migrant women and improve the perceived image of theirs among Japanese by creating jobs to them as English teachers. Before relocating to Japan, he lived in Hong Kong and worked as Executive Director at the Asian Center for Development Studies (ASCEND) in coordinating reforestation initiatives of farmers’ organizations in the Philippines.
Cesar received the Geny Lopez Bayaning Filipino Award 2012, and his social enterprise, SEELS, was selected for the 1st Michinoku Entrepreneurship program led by Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC). Furthermore, SEELS was named one of the Global Hot 100 Companies at the World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (THEWSIE) held in Boston in September 2012.
Sosha Mitsunaga Smith, Japan
Director, Youth Development
Mr. Sosha Mitsunaga Smith is CEO of Common Earth Company.
Born to a Japanese mother and American father, Sosha grew up flying between the two countries. After a few years in the language education industry, Sosha co-founds a language consulting firm to offer global translations services.
Continuing his volunteer work in Tohoku after the North East Japan Earthquake in 2011, he graduated Waseda Business School. One of the several things he did while volunteering was to make use of his bilingual skills and take action in coordinating and translating for foreign aid groups that flew in.
After going back to finishing his MBA degree in Tokyo, he decided to forward his vision and go one step further – to create a business that can provide a sustainable channel to empower communities such as those is Tohoku. This was Earth Camp – the first service of Common Earth Company.
Kensuke Mori, Japan
Director, Legal Affairs
Kensuke Mori joined Akira Foundation in 2010 as an auditor, and since then, he has helped and given legal advice to Akira Foundation.
He opened his own office as a Certified Administrative Scrivener in 2007. Inspired and motivated by Mr. Muhammad Yunus and his microcredit methods operated by Grameen Bank, he has helped young social entrepreneurs in Japan to make decisions in choosing a form of better legal entities and to found and manage their organizations.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Law at the Gakushuin University.
International Advisory Board Members

Mr. C. Jeffrey Char, Japan
President and CEO, J-Seed Ventures, Inc.
Ms. Tri Mumpuni, Indonesia
Founder and Executive Director, IBEKA
Ms. Masami Hayashi, Mexico
Managing Director, Microfinance Network
Dr. Christian Wirth, Australia
Lecturer, Griffith Asia Institute, Griffith University
Our Father – Akira Yokoi
“The person to act on the Level 5 leadership”
Our Roots
Naming our program after our late father captures his many characteristics, which our program vision and mission embody. During his remarkable life, Akira nurtured and empowered us, and even now, he continues to inspire us. Our program stands as a fitting tribute to him and his lasting impact. Indeed, the roots he provided us serve to support us while allowing us to grow.
History of the Name “Akira”
“Akira” is a Japanese word that means something enlightening, visionary and forward-looking. Other words commonly associated with its translation include: to bring out, to clarify, to demonstrate, to develop, to define, emerging, manifest, and visible. There are also overtones of human nature to this word: bright, clean, extravert, illuminative, shining, splendorous, vibrant, and wise.
Life of “Akira”
Our father left behind much more than just his name and its meanings. His life exceeded the very meanings of his name. He acted on “Level 5 leadership,” as Jim Collins stressed in his best-selling book, “Good to Great.” One of his hallmark feats, “the Kijan Project”[1] in Indonesia (in 1970’s at Toyota Motor Corporation), presented his most personal challenge. But it also demonstrated what one person could do to advance interweaving societal values with economic development in an emerging part of our world.
The Essence of “Akira”
Akira Yokoi’s life blended “personal humility” and “professional will”. This combination positively affected many people and societies well beyond the business world. An outpouring of his courage, determination, empathy, and generosity is still alive in our veins. “Akira Foundation” symbolizes his legacy and our will to harmonize our being with others.
“Man is only a privileged listener and respondent to existence. … We are trying to listen to the voice of Being. It is, or ought to be, a relation of existence, responsibility, custodianship, answerability to and for.”
- Heidegger
  • [1] This story is abstracted from Akira Yokoi’s unpublished memoirs, originally written several years before he passed away, entitled, “Fighting the Three River Kings: Project files of Indonesia, Australia, and Europe.” (April, 2008)
History
2009

  • Social Innovation Scholarship (SIS), founded by Hirofumi & Atsufumi Yokoi in Tokyo, Japan on July 17
  • Partners with Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES) in Tokyo, Japan on July 17
  • Selects the 1st SIS scholarship winners in Tokyo, Japan on October 23
  • Launches a new global website on October 27
  • Elects the 1st SIS Fellows in Tokyo, Japan on November 12
  • Akira Foundation Japan (AFJ), established by Hirofumi & Atsufumi Yokoi in Tokyo, Japan on December 11
2010

  • Selects the 2nd SIS scholarship winners in Tokyo, Japan on August 8
  • Approves the current Akira Foundation’s emblem on August 22
  • Elects the 2nd SIS Fellows in Tokyo, Japan on August 23
  • Akira-Keio SFC Social Innovation Scholarship (AXIS), founded by AFJ in Tokyo, Japan on November 11
  • Partners with Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus (SFC) in Kanagawa, Japan on November 11
2011

  • Launches new Japanese website on February 7
  • Main Office moves to Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan on March 1
  • Selects the Akira-Keio SFC Social Innovation Scholarship (AXIS) winner in Tokyo, Japan on March 17
  • Sponsors the 1st conference on Vulnerable Filipino Migrants: Focus on Japan, held in Osaka, Japan on March 19-20
  • Supports the formation of a social enterprise, SEELS Co., Ltd., founded by the Center for Japanese-Filipino Families (CJFF) on May 18
  • Sponsors the Asia Career Seminar Series, held by JRI & AFJ in Tokyo, Japan on May 28
  • Selects the 3rd SIS scholarship winners in Tokyo, Japan on August 25
  • Hold the 1st off-site meeting of Akira Social Ventures (ASV) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on September 30
2012

  • Establishes Akira Social Ventures, JLT (ASV), formally registered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on January 3
  • Formally registers as a general incorporated association (Act No. 48 of 2006) in Tokyo, Japan, and renames as akira foundation on February 3.
  • Elected as a strategic partner of the World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (THEWSIE), which was launched in 2006 at the United Nations, on March 12
  • Announces the Microfinance Tour to Lebanon on April 28
  • Baria Daye selected as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum on May 4
  • Mr. Cesar Santoyo, President of Social Enterprise English Language School (SEELS), awarded 2012 Gawad Geny Lopez Global Bayaning Pilipino Awards in the Philippines and selected for the 1st Michinoku Entrepreneurship program in July
  • Selects the Akira-Keio SFC Social Innovation Scholarship (AXIS) winner in Tokyo, Japan on July 27
  • Coordinates and sponsors the symposium of the "Sophia University 100th Anniversary Project", "Urbanization in Africa and the Emergence of New Global Scale Issues", held in Tokyo on August 9
  • Becomes a strategic partner of African Centre for Cities to help create academic and social bridge between Japan and Africa on September 20
  • SEELS named to the list of Global Hot 100 Companies at The World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (THEWSIE) on September 25
  • Coordinates in collaboration with African Centre for Cities (ACC) at University of Cape Town and Graduate School of Design (GSD) at Harvard University, and sponsors the session of the “Smarter African Cityscapes: Evading the Hype” at the World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (THEWSIE) 2012, held in Boston on September 26
  • Funds and registers Annata Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon, on October 9
  • Selects the 4th SIS scholarship winners in Tokyo, Japan on November 21
  • Becomes the International and Regional Supporting Organization to support the international forum of MaD (Make a Difference) 2013, to be held by Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture (HKICC) in Hong Kong on November 23
2013

  • SEELS awarded grants from World in Asia (WiA) on February 24
  • Elected as a strategic partner of the World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (theWSIE), which was launched in 2006 at the United Nations, on April 11
  • Signs Memorandum of Understanding with American Councils on Promoting International Education, Social Innovation and Cultural Exchange on April 18
  • Cesar Santoyo selected as one of 600 entrepreneurs in Tohoku by Social Incubator Fund led by Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC.) for his effort as the President of SEELS on April 27
  • Hirofumi & Atsufumi Yokoi appointed as the “TOMODACHI U.S.-Japan Youth Exchange Program” country co-directors in Japan by American Councils International Education on May 17
  • Financially supports the campaign activities led by Tokyo Volunteer Action Center on June 13, as do other companies including Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation and Glaxo SmithKline
  • SEELS awarded grants from Japanese government under the project to promote creation of social business on August 9
  • Becomes a member of TrustLaw Connect, the Thomson Reuters Foundation's global pro bono service that connects NGOs and social enterprises with the best law firms around the world on August 22
  • Hirofumi & Atsufumi Yokoi attended in the World Summit of Innovation & Entrepreneurship (theWSIE) held in New York, USA, on October 9 to 11
  • Hirofumi & Atsufumi Yokoi named among over 30 innovators in the world by Kogan Page, a leading independent global publisher in London on December 12
2014

  • Agreed to continue to work together with American Councils for International Education in the TOMODACHI U.S.-Japan Youth Exchange Program on February 12
  • Sponsors the Philippine Studies Conference in Japan (PSCJ): Emerging Philippines: New Frontiers, Directions, Contributions, held at Kyoto University on February 28 to March 1
  • Elected as a strategic partner of the World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (theWSIE), which was launched in 2006 at the United Nations, on April 9
  • Financially supports the campaign activities led by Tokyo Volunteer Action Center on June 10, as do other companies including Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation and Glaxo SmithKline
  • Sponsors the program “Connect The Dots: Workshop for Future Entrepreneurs” on August 8
  • Organizes a seminar for a delegation from the King Prajadhipok's Institute (KPI), Thailand, on September 19
  • Imprements the 2014 TOMODACHI US-Japan Youth Exchange Program from November 1 to 16
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