Building National Capacity

The JETAA USA Working Group was established following the JETAA USA National Conference in October 2012 in response to an effort by JET alum Paige Cottingham-Streater, Director of the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation, to pursue a grant from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership to be used to help build and strengthen JETAA USA and its chapters.

As a result of these efforts, The U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation is hiring for a part-time JETAA Project Director position.

The initiative was born from a feeling among established figures in the U.S.-Japan community that JETAA USA could be playing a much greater role as an organized entity in contributing to relations between the two countries, especially considering how many alumni hold important positions individually in the field.  There was also a recognition that one of JETAA USA’s greatest needs has been support in its efforts to grow and organize itself to act more effectively and cohesively on a national level. As a result, the concept behind the grant is to fund a position for a person who can devote the time and energy necessary to helping JETAA USA chapters work together towards this end – something that has proven to be beyond the capacity of even the very dedicated volunteers who have attempted to accomplish this so far. As conceived, this role would be as a national coordinator and support resource for the chapters and the existing JETAA USA Country Representatives and Board of Advisors.

This initiative is not without historic precedent:  A generation ago, a similar boost enabled a dispersed community of Japan-America societies collaborate to create the National Association of Japan America Societies (NAJAS) which has helped establish their roles as highly-regarded cultural institutions in their various communities, effectively promoting strong ties between the U.S. and Japan over the years.

The JETAA USA Working Group was tasked with analyzing and discussing the opportunities and challenges presented by this proposal and collaborating with the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation should the project move forward.  One key role for the Working Group is to help the JETAA USA chapters fully understand and maximize the potential of the opportunity.  Another is to help Paige and the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation understand the structure, abilities and accomplishments of JETAA USA, as a national organization, and its individual chapters, as well as the challenges they face with regard to growth and to playing a more active role in the greater U.S.-Japan relationship.

For more information about the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation and the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, please visit:

JETAA USA Working Group members:

Jessyca Livingston (Hokkaido, 2003-06) Rocky Mountain JETAA & JETAA USA Board of Advisors

Steven Horowitz (Aichi-ken, 1992-94) JETwit.comJETAA New York & JETAA USA Board of Advisors

James Gannon (Ehime-ken, 1992-94) JETAA New York & JETAA USA Board of Advisors

Ryan Hart (Chiba-ken, 1998-99) Pacific Northwest JETAA & JETAA USA Board of Advisors

Casey Mochel (Hyogo-ken, 2005-08) Pacific Northwest JETAA & JETAA USA Country Representative

Xander Peterson (Miyazaki-ken, 2009-2011) JETAA Northern California & JETAA USA Country Representative

Melissa Spooner (Mie-ken, 2006-2009) JETAA New York & JETAA USA Country Representative

Melissa Chan (Tokyo-to, 2005-07) JETAA Northern California & Former JETAA USA Country Representative

Christina Omori (Saitama-ken, 2004-05) New England JETAA & Former JETAA USA Country Representative

Jennifer Butler (Shizuoka-ken, 2001-04) JETAA Music City & Former JETAA USA Country Representative

Leigh Ann Mastrini (Hyogo-ken, 2006-08) JETAA DC President

Josh Berglund (Kumamoto-ken, 2008-09) Texoma JETAA & Former JETAA DC

Mark Frey (Kumamoto-ken, 2002-06) JETAA Northern California President

Monica Yuki (Saitama-ken, 2002-2004) JETAA New York President

Kay Makishi (Fukuoka-ken, 2011-2014) AJET Chair 2013-2014

Elizabeth Brailsford (Niigata-ken, 2004-2007) JETAA Minnesota President