Japan Ambassadors Program
The Japan Ambassadors program is a 12-day international immersive experience in Japan from May 28-June 8, 2023. Students will follow in the footsteps of former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Howard H. Baker to learn about Japanese culture, politics, history, and U.S.-Japan relations through meetings with Japanese policy makers, U.S. diplomatic staff, researchers at thinktanks, and Japanese university students. Students will visit museums, cultural sites, thinktanks, Japanese government agencies, and universities.
This is an experiential opportunity for students to learn about international affairs, foreign policy, and diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Japan, one of the closest U.S. allies. For the program, students will develop a policy brief on a topic of interest related to U.S.-Japan relations. This brief will be shared with relevant guests and as a student publication on the Baker Center’s website. Students in all academic programs and classifications are welcome to apply for this program. Applications are due March 1, 2023.
Dr. Krista Wiegand, Director of the Global Security Program and Professor of Political Science, will lead the program. Dr. Wiegand has led several student programs abroad in China, Singapore/Malaysia/Indonesia, Albania/Kosovo, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Costa Rica. She specializes in U.S. foreign policy, East Asian security, alliance relations, and relations between Japan, the U.S., South Korea, China, and the Philippines.
The trip will include 10 days in country and 2 days of travel. Students will be based in Kobe and Tokyo, making several day trips to: Kyoto, Hiroshima, Himeji, Akashi, and Itsukushima Island. The program will overlap with the UTK Pop Culture in Japan Study Abroad program and Japan Ambassadors students will join the students enrolled in that program for some of the excursions. Students from both programs will stay at the same hotels, with double occupancy and breakfasts provided. Lunches and dinners will be out at cafes, restaurants, or to-go convenience shops like 7-11, which is quite popular in Japan for food!
What makes the Japan Ambassadors program trip unique?
Short-term, immersive experience
Not every student has the time or financial means to study abroad. This 12-day international immersive experience program allows students to gain global experience without time spent in classes. The program ends on June 8, the last day of the May mini-term, allowing students to return to Knoxville for summer session courses or elsewhere if students have internships or summer work.
Experiential learning at a lower cost
This trip is not credit-bearing, which allows students the opportunity to have a global experience without being concerned about adding more credit hours to their course load. Students may take an optional 3-credit Independent Study course in summer session 1 with Dr. Wiegand about U.S. foreign policy, East Asian security issues, or Japanese politics. Students can use what they learned during the trip as part of the Independent Study.
Baker Center unique experience
Student Programs at the Baker Center provide students with special experiences uniquely designed to engage students in the public policy process, whether in Knoxville, Washington, DC, or Japan. The Center prepares students for careers in public service through various experiences. Through research, teaching, mentorship, and engagement, the Center’s programs seek to provide a forum for exploring democracy and promoting leadership in public service. The Japan Ambassadors, along with the Washington Fellows program, provide intensive immersive experiences to learn about public policy in the capitals of Japan and the U.S.
Highlights of the program:
- Learn about U.S. foreign policy in Japan, Japanese politics, diplomacy, and East Asian issues from U.S. diplomatic staff, policy makers at Japanese government agencies, and researchers at think tanks and universities
- Visit historic memorials, shrines, and museums symbolizing the transition from Imperial Japan to modern day Japan
- Meet with Japanese university students
- Experience Immersive cultural experiences
$1,600 + flight (estimated cost for flight from Knoxville to Osaka/From Tokyo to Knoxville: $2,000)
Scholarships are available and details will be provided at the information sessions.
Program fee includes: double occupancy accommodations in hotels, all meals, group dinner, excursions, airport transfers, local transportation, day trips, guides, museum fees, bullet train from Kobe to Tokyo. Extra funds are needed for meals over a set price, personal expenses, passport, and tuition and fees for the optional 3-credit Independent Study course (summer session 1).
Students interested in attending the Japan Ambassadors program are highly encouraged to attend one of the two information sessions. This will be your chance to hear more details about the program and meet Dr. Wiegand.
- Recording Link from Virtual Session
- In-Person: Wednesday, February 15, 2023 from 5-6pm
- Location: Toyota Auditorium (Room 103), Baker Center