UH-Hilo students attend conference

Three University of Hawaii at Hilo students were recently selected to participate in a student leadership conference sponsored by the Tomodachi Daiwa House.

Kye Harford, Haruka Kono and Kotaro Yogi were among 40 students nationwide selected to attend the conference, which was held April 5-8 in Los Angeles. All expenses were covered for the participants.


The theme of the conference was “U.S.-Japan Business and Community Partnerships: Practical Insights for Tomorrow’s Global Leaders.”

It brought together students with personal, academic and/or professional interests in U.S.-Japan relations. The focus was on broadening participants’ understanding of relations, sharing leadership lessons, and imparting skills to help prepare them for global careers.

In trainings and workshops, students built cross-cultural networking skills and explored leadership values, learned about career opportunities and met like-minded peers.

Harford and Yogi graduated from UH-Hilo in May. Harford was a geology major while Yogi pursued a linguistics degree and certificate in teaching English to speakers of other languages. Kono is a sophomore studying biology. All three are international students originally from Japan.


The Tomodachi Initiative is a public-private partnership, born out of support for Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake that invests in the next generation of leaders through educational and cultural exchanges as well as leadership programs.

It aims to foster a generation of leaders who are committed to and engaged in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations, appreciate each other’s countries and cultures, and possess the skills needed to contribute to and thrive in a more cooperative, prosperous, and secure world.

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