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Japanese First Lady, Mrs. Akie Abe, Lauds AUW at Tokyo Event
Tokyo, Japan
22, May, 2014

The Asian University for Women’s Japan Support Committee hosted its 5th annual film screening and fundraising event for the University on April 22, 2014 at the Sogetsu Kaikan in Tokyo.  Over 200 guests attended and watched the documentary “Girl Rising” from Academy Award-nominated director Richard E. Robbins. The film journeys around the globe to witness the strength of the human spirit and the power of education to change the world, following the lives of nine remarkable girls living in the developing world who overcome nearly impossible odds to pursue their dreams.

Prior to the screening, Mrs. Akie Abe, the First Lady of Japan and an AUW Patron, discussed her visit to Bangladesh in 2011 and recapped her strong belief in AUW’s mission, emphasizing that female global leaders are critical for Asia’s growth, sustainability, and prosperity as a region. She concluded by urging guests to support AUW.

Organized by the AUW Japan Support Committee, the event also included speeches by two alumnae from AUW’s pioneer graduate Class of 2013, Kamala KC from Nepal and Duth Kimsru from Cambodia, who spoke about their life stories. In their remarks, both women highlighted the challenging journeys they took to get to AUW and spoke passionately about the opportunities that an AUW education has provided them. Kimsru spoke about her mother who moved her family to Phnom Penh and took in extra work so Kimsru and her siblings could receive a better education. Kimsru now works at a nonprofit connecting young Cambodians to better educational opportunities. For Kamala, she described her 90 minute walk to school every day and her part-time work as a teacher to finance her own studies. She is now pursuing her graduate degree in Sociology in South Korea and plans to work with Nepalese migrant laborers in future.

Mrs. Akie Abe with AUW alumnae and AUW Japan Support Group members

Mrs. Akie Abe with AUW alumnae and AUW Japan Support Group members

Among the event attendees were His Excellency Mr. Masud Bin Momen, Bangladesh Ambassador to Japan and his wife Shoma,  His Excellency Mr. Farukh Amil, Ambassador of Pakistan to Japan, and Reiko Rzerdahelyi, wife of the Hungarian Ambassador to Japan. Other distinguished guests included members from JKSK, a non-profit that supports AUW through various activities, including a one-coin grassroots fundraising campaign. AUW is thankful for their efforts in raising 5 partial scholarships every year for the last 4 years. JKSK has also just renewed its agreement with AUW to support an additional 5 partial scholarships for incoming Access Academy students. Ms. TizianaAlamprese, Marketing Director of Fiat-Chrysler Japan, was also in attendance and urged others to join in supporting AUW.

In addition to the fund raising event, the AUW alumnae attended a series of meetings in Tokyo this week, all of which were organized by the Japan Support Committee and the AUW Support Foundation. The trip served as a fundraising opportunity for AUW and enabled its growing network of supporters to connect directly with the University’s students and alumnae. Along with AUW Support Foundation Board Members Kathy Matsui, Catherine Watters Sasanuma, and Miwa Seki, the two students visited a number of Japanese corporations and called for their support of AUW. The visits were a success, generating meaningful discussion of AUW’s work, and one corporation has already pledged support of 3 AUW student scholarships over 4 years.

AUW is grateful for the Japan Support Committee’s long-term support. As one of AUW’s most active support groups, it has worked tirelessly to advance awareness and sponsorship of the University, and such moving and inspiring events as this are a crucial step in allowing AUW to continue its important work. In addition to Japan, AUW has active support foundations and groups in Hong Kong, the UK, Kuwait and Italy.