March 19, 2008
Stanford program wins $25,000 Goldman Sachs Foundation prize
The Asia Society last week awarded the 2007 Goldman Sachs Foundation Media and Technology Prize to the Reischauer Scholars Program, a college-level, distance-learning course about Japan for American high school students developed at Stanford.
Gary Mukai, director of the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education, which oversees the scholars program, and Naomi Funahashi, the primary instructor for the scholars program, accepted the prize, a plaque and a check for $25,000, at a March 10 luncheon in New York City.
Mukai said he would use the money to fund the 2008-09 scholars program, which is named in honor of Edwin O. Reischauer, a former U.S. ambassador to Japan.
Currently, the program receives funding from the Center for Global Partnership of the Japan Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes international cultural exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and other countries.
Stanford was one of four winners of the 2007 Goldman Sachs Foundation Prizes for Excellence in International Education awarded by the Asia Society, an international organization whose goal is to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders and institutions of Asia and the United States. The prizes were created to identify and recognize the most promising and successful examples of international education in the United States.
In addition to Stanford, the society also awarded prizes to a Florida elementary school, an Oregon high school and the Ohio State Board of Education.
Every year, the Reischauer Scholars Program selects 25 exceptional high school juniors and seniors throughout the United States to take part in the course, which offers a broad overview of Japanese history, literature, religion, arts, politics, economics and contemporary society, with a special emphasis on U.S.-Japan relations.
The course is offered through 10 "virtual classes" via the Internet over four months, and includes lectures, readings and online discussions, as well as videos and presentations that creatively display maps, statistics, images and digitized primary resources. Senior scholars, diplomats and other experts from the United States and Japan teach the classes. Students who successfully complete the course earn credit from the Stanford Continuing Studies Program.
The Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education is a K-12 education outreach program at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
The advisers to the Reischauer Scholars Program are Michael Armacost, a former ambassador to Japan and now a distinguished fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute; Daniel Okimoto, a professor emeritus of political science at Stanford; Consul General Yasumasa Nagamine of the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco; and Nisuke Ando, a professor emeritus of law at Doshisha University in Japan.