S&R foundation is actively monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation. Health and safety are our top priorities and we will follow recommendations from national and international authorities including the World Health Organization (WHO), United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) regarding the operation of the Kingfisher Global Leadership program.

Right now we are accepting applications for the Tokyo Kyoto Kingfisher Program planned for September 5-19, 2020. Dates may change due to COVID-19, but as of March 27th, we plan on moving forward with selections.

The application form is here.



In 2013, Dr. Sachiko Kuno, Co-Founder, President, and CEO of S&R Foundation and Professor Shotaro Yachi, current national security advisor to Prime Minister Abe, formulated a study abroad program for Japanese undergraduate and graduate students with a focus on International Security and Global Resiliency. This idea came out of a few similar programs S&R Foundation had been involved with including the Kyoto University Global Leadership Program and the International Institute of Global Resiliency Leadership Development Program for Keio University and Kumamoto University with a focus on Emergency Management. In 2015 this program evolved into the current Kingfisher Global Leadership Program, a two-week long U.S. study abroad program for Japanese undergraduate and graduate students implemented by S&R Foundation in partnership with Professor Shotaro Yachi for students of four Tokyo based universities – The University of Tokyo, Keio University, Waseda University and Sophia University.

Purpose: Empower the next generation of leaders with the skills and networks they need to thrive in an increasingly globalized society.

How do we do this?

Expose participants to a variety of international career opportunities in different fields including, but not limited to:

  • International Development – World Bank, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, United Nations Foundation
  • Government – United States Department of State, Peace Corps, Japanese Embassy in Washington, DC
  • Research & Development – NASA, NIH, NIST
  • Think Tanks – Brookings, American Enterprise Institute, Center for American Progress, Center for a New American Security, Stimson Center
  • Business Leaders – Dr. Sachiko Kuno, Dr. Ryuji Ueno, Fellows in the Halcyon Incubator
  • Non-Profit Sector – Mansfield Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, Sasakawa USA
  • Media – NHK, Newseum, Asahi Shimbun
  • Provide opportunities to speak with prominent leaders in their respective fields
  1.    Listen to leaders personal career development stories
  2.    Ask about steps they took to achieve their goals
  • Promote participants’ desire/ability to become strong leaders who can make a measurable impact in their chosen fields
  • Focus on developing a personal mission and vision for your future

Number of Participants: Limited to 10 students

Example Itinerary: 

 *Please note the schedule changes from year to year depending on speaker and organization availability. We also ask potential participants to list organizations they are interested in visiting on their application form. 

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Undergraduate or Graduate Student
  • Enrolled at an accredited university (limited to Tokyo University, Keio University, Waseda University, Sophia University)
  • Proficient in English:
    • Sessions will be held in Japanese or English at a very high level
    1. IELTS Score 6.0 or greater
    2. TOEFL score 550 or greater
    3. iBT score 80 or greater
    4. TOEIC score 700 or greater
    5. Eiken, Pre-1 or 1
  • Expected to participate in all program activities
  • Be aware of the demanding schedule. See Example Itinerary above. 
  • Be interested in International Affairs/Development
  • Program has a focus on the U.S.-Japan Relationship, but is not limited to it
  • Be able to act responsibly throughout the duration of the program
    •  Program Staff will not be with participants 24/7 and are not chaperones, but facilitators
  • Be Inquisitive and Proactively Engaged
  • Program requires participants to actively take part in Q&A sessions.
  • You will be required to give a final presentation on your experiences in front of invited guests and program staff
  • Be open to experiences outside of your academic field
  • Program is inter-disciplinary by nature
  • Academic Excellence
  • Acknowledge logdings come "as is," and friendly dogs may be on the premises!!
  • Sign Photo and Video Release Waiver as requested (will only be sent to program participants)

Selection Process

Participants will be determined by a joint committee of participating University Staff/Professors, Japan National Security Council Staff, and S&R Foundation Staff. They will review all application materials. Top applicants will be selected and proceed to the interview stage. Final candidates will be determined after the interview stage is complete.

Selection Criteria

  • Applicant must meet all eligibility requirements
  • Provide copy of Academic Transcript
  • Provide copy of TOEFL iBT, IELTS, TOEIC, or Eiken Scores (only one test required)
  • Resume/CV Answers:  Experience in each section is evaluated as a whole and having experience in each section is NOT REQUIRED for final selection
  • Past living/study abroad experiences
  • Work/Internship Experience
  • Extra-Curricular Activities
  • Other Skills/Certifications (Includes Awards)
  • English Proficiency (determined through Test Scores, English essay and short answer responses, Interview)
  • Three Short Answer Responses (under 200 words each)
  1.  Choose three to answer from available questions
  • Long Essay (500-750 words)
  1. Describe your motivation for applying to the Kingfisher Program and your future career goals
  2.  How can Kingfisher help your personal development?


Quotes from past participants past program anonymous surveys:

"This program is the only one that I’ve participated in so far that has made me feel like the coordinators really want me to learn something and that it was delivered to that effect."

"Truly eye-opening horizon expanding intellectually stimulating experience. Made me feel like I could make it out on the international stage. Very good programming."

"Halcyon Fellow Kick off meeting was a great time for me because it was the first time to watch American Style (professional) presentations. It was inspiring and gave good tips to prepare for own presentations."

"Best program in my life. I could get some confidence through discussion with more people."

"I learned and understood the importance of leadership and career development qualities especially that of relationship building."