Birmingham-Maebashi: USJ Young Professionals Forum

As part of KIF Global's Subnational X Initiative, 1st U.S.A.-Japan Subnational Global Young Professionals Forum was held virtually between the City of Birmingham, Alabama and City of Maebashi, Japan.

The Forum is a public-private partnership (PPP) in a forum series held virtually and organized globally by the Koyamada International Foundation (KIF) Japan, KIF America and Junior Chamber International (JCI) Japan. The subnational hosts are City of Birmingham, City of Maebashi, Birmingham Sister Cities, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Young Professionals of Birmingham.

The purpose of the forum is for American and Japanese young professional leaders to deepen bilateral economic and cultural people-to-people relationships to foster mutual understanding, as well as to create an international cooperation between communities in the United States and Japan at a subnational level.

The guests speakers were the following;

  • U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu, (Foreign Committee, author of a bipartizen bill "City and State Diplomacy Act"
  • Ambassador Tamaki Tsukada, Deputy Chief Mission, the Embassy of Japan, DC
  • Mr. Michael Turner, Culture and Sports Attaché, US Embassy Tokyo
  • Mr. Shin Koyamada, Chairman, KIF Global
  • Mr. Anthony Al-Jamie, Chairman of KIF America
  • Mr. Mike Holland, Board of Directors, KIF Japan
  • Ms. Marie Kitamura, JCI Japan
  • Mayor Randall Woodfin, City of Birmingham
  • Mayor Ryu Yamamoto, City of Maebashi
  • Ms. Gwendolyn Amamoo, Chair of Birmingham Sister Cities
  • Ms. Corlette Stewart Burns, Executive Director of Birmingham Sister Cities
  • Mr. Fuyuki Hanzawa, President of JCI Maebashi

Ms. Bettina Byrd-Giles, founder and CEO of The Byrd’s Nest LLC

American speakers from Honolulu, Hawaii

  • Mr. Takamitsu Saigusa - Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Ms. Sara Lappen - Faculty member in the Department of Human Studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) in the state of Alabama
  • Ms. Leanna Miku Crafford - A full-time student Majoring in Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Ms. Isuzu Meyer, MD, MSPH - Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Alabama at Birmingham

Japanese speakers from Hiroshima, Japan

  • Mr. Yuichi Tsubaki - Member, JCI Maebashi
  • Ms.Mayumi Higuchi - Coordinator, Health Promotion Section, City of Maebashi
  • Mr. Masaki Kato - Coordinator, Sports Section, City of Maebashi
  • Mr. Shunsuke Osawa - Coordinator, Tourism Section, City of Maebashi
  • Mr. Jalen Cox - Cultural and International Section, City of Maebashi
  • Mr. Yutaka Kano - Coordinator, Cultural and International Section, City of Maebashi

The U.S. and Japan also share more sister city relationships with each other than with any other country, with a total of 458 subnational partnerships at the prefecture, city, ward, town and village levels. The final report of the Forum will be presented by JCI Japan as a bilateral recommendation to the United States-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON) in Japan.