As a private volunteer organization, Iizuka Friendship Network (I.F.N.) has been working on support activities for foreign students for about 20 years. Additionally, cooperating with Iizuka International Exchange Propulsive Council, we have been participating in Japanese speech meets of foreign students, English speech meets of high school students, and international comprehensive presentations of elementary school students. Through these activities, we felt keenly the importance of internationalization. About that time, we accidentally came to know that Sunnyvale City, one of the central cities of Silicon Valley, was looking for a friendship city, and we made contact with Mr. Mark Kato, a central person of this activity. And then we found their purpose of interchange was “youth development,” so we worked together with the superintendent of education of Iizuka City and other educational institutions, furthermore, we obtained the Mayor’s approval, and luckily, we executed the conclusion of friendship cities.
The activities of Sunnyvale City are mainly of private NPOs, and they are already connecting with I.F.N. closely.
In Iizuka, the city hall and I.F.N. began to join forces with each other to be active. Sunnyvale and Iizuka have already started to exchange little by little. For example, elementary, junior high, and high school students in both cities have begun to interchange New Year’s cards, but we are now thinking that, after this, we will cooperate on interchange between schools and homestays and studies in each other cities in which Iizuka City is taking the lead, and at the same time, put more efforts into cultural exchange in which the private sector will take the initiative.
We can think of encouraging, exchanging, and supporting venture firms in the future, but first of all, we will take action concentrating on “youth development.” Besides that, we want to expand widely this activity to the common citizenry.
I sincerely implore you to understand the point of our activities and for exceptional cooperation and assistance. Thank you very much.
Iizuka Friendship Network