Innovator, Entrepreneur, and Social Impact Catalyzer
"Think Global, Act Local—always remember your magical human touch"
Yumi M. Kuwana is an innovator, educator, and entrepreneur. She is the Founder and President of Global Citizens Initiative Inc. (GCI), a global social enterprise (NPO) with a mission to engage, educate, and empower youth with the appropriate tools and skills to thrive in the 21st century as action-oriented changemakers. The GCI Summit and Educator’s Seminar is the flagship program for the endeavor, which has been hosted at the Harvard Faculty Club in Cambridge, MA and in Tokyo, Japan.
Having spent half her life in Japan and half in the U.S, Yumi adds a unique perspective to issues of cross-cultural exchange. Her exposure to two different educational systems and engagement with people from around the world has profoundly shaped who she is today. Life was not easy; she was bullied for being different and constantly tried to assimilate and blend in, rather than acculturating and picking the best of both cultures. It was only as an adult that she started to embrace and appreciate both countries and cultures, finding her unique identity. Her personal experience combined with her husband’s, and their desire to raise their three children to be bilingual/bicultural, led to a research-based discussion paper, “How to Nurture our Next Generation of Global Citizens.”
Yumi’s personal journey has been the catalyst to launch GCI, Inc. She loves the Summit as it touches teen lives around the world, giving them a chance to interact with peers from all walks of life, exposing them to thought leaders and experts, and providing them with unique opportunities to make a mark in this world. She is genuinely interested in knowing them and their journeys along with assisting them. Yumi is passionate about GCI because the rewards of helping others are much greater than helping herself. She receives so much joy and happiness by helping young leaders. This is truly Yumi’s passion and calling in life.
Prior to GCI, she worked on Wall Street at Bear, Stearns & Co. VP and Morgan Stanley. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Finance, and attended Harvard Business School for her MBA. She serves on the Board of Councilors at Okinawa Institute of Technology and the International Advisory Panel of the Bhutan Institute of Happiness, and has been active in her community through the Columbia University WHO Center for Global Mental Health Council, Greenwich Women’s Roundtable and YWCA, Hackley School, Phillips Exeter Academy and the US-Japan Council.
SPEAKER & PANELIST
The topic of global citizens is multi-dimensional and complex. This discussion paper aims to urge parents and educators to take international and holistic approaches to nurture global citizens to give children the best opportunities to succeed and prosper on a global playing field. This paper outlines the three key attributes of a global citizen, including a framework of solid character, and discusses the merits and challenges of these attributes. While shedding light on the general cognitive, cultural, social, and economic benefits of being a global citizen, this paper also introduces the concept of a “Global Citizens Roadmap,” a guide to raising global citizens that incorporates original research, expert opinions, and considerations and recommendations for parents and educators.
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This paper is based on the initial discussion paper Nurturing Our Next Generation of Global Citizens and takes the discussion further regarding global education. The ability to speak and function in different cultures is critical to navigating effectively in a global world. Children must learn to hold onto their roots as they become connected to a broader community. Families must develop and implement new education and character-building strategies that solidify and promote family goals. Global Citizens Initiative seeks to revolutionize education in a rapidly globalizing world. This paper articulates a new framework for holistic education with family, school, and community as the foundation.
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