One of the late Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s valuable contributions to the Marshall Islands was the introduction of the “Sustainable Development Goals Global Leader” program.
Then Prime Minister Abe launched the program during the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM7) in Fukushima, Japan in 2015 with the intention to strengthen economic growth of island nations with close ties to Japan.
One of these island nations is Marshall Islands.
To date, four Marshallese have graduated from a two-year master’s program funded through Japan’s SDG Global Leader program: Vladmir Gulfan, Peter Robert, Benedict Yamamura and James Myazoe, II. One Marshallese, Diane Peter, is currently enrolled in the program.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which oversees the Global Leader program, held a dinner recently at Toeak Bar and Grill to reunite and honor the four SDGs Global Leader alumni.
During the dinner, each graduate shared highlights of their experience before enjoying dinner with JICA officers.
The first participant enrolled in 2016 but did not complete the program. There was no applicant in 2017. Then in 2018, Vladimir, Peter and Benedict got onboard.
Vladimir represented the Public School System (PSS) and was part of the Secondary Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment team at Laura High School. Peter was a math teacher at Rita Elementary School under PSS. Both Vladimir and Peter attended the Naruto University of Education.
Benedict, on the other hand, was Chief of Coastal Fisheries for Marshall Islands Marine Authority Resources (MIMRA) when he attended the Kyushu University and graduated with a masters in Integrated Science and Global Society.
In 2019, James Myazoe, II, a project manager at the Project Management Unit (PMU) at the Ministry of Works, Infrastructure and Utilities (WIU), completed the master’s program for Global Environmental Studies at Sophia university.
The program had no candidate in 2020 due to the pandemic.
This year, Diane Peter is undergoing Global Environmental Studies at the Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.