Activating Social Activism Program (ASAP)

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Activating Social Activism Program (ASAP) engages Japanese and American young adults (ages 18-25) through a three-month program focused on global and local issues including women’s economic inclusion; climate change; minority community issues and rights; diversity and equity, and the importance and value of the bilateral US-Japan partnership in youth leading the next generation of social and environmental solutions.

This program is funded by US Embassy Tokyo, and has three pillars where the first and second are virtual and the third is in Japan. The funding covers (1) all coursework and guest speakers online and in person, (2)tuition in Japan, and (3) part of transportation fees.

Any other expenses are participant’s responsibility such as: (1) transportation fees between your home and training venue in Japan(2) any expenses occurred to obtain short-term stay visa to enter Japan, (3) accommodation or travel outside the program period, and (4) any other personal expenses. If this is your first time traveling internationally, you will need a government-issued passport. 

In partnership with

US Mission Japan Embassy Seal
Online &
In-Person: 4 hours
Online: 10-11 hours
over 3 months
Primarily in English
with little to no
Japanese assistance
See above
Max 25 people

About the Program

With the support of U.S. Embassy Tokyo, iLEAP will start program called ASAP with three main phases:

One; 1 month of youth online training in social activism through a diversity and inclusion lens, to understand personal and societal connotations as related to themes;

Two, 1 month of online mentorship in learning U.S.-Japan relations and global contexts and intersectionality of different themes of social activism;

Three,1 in person gathering to synthesize learning and integrate principles in a personal social activism project. 

*Program participants must attend all sessions in every phase

Phase 1: Connecting to Community Course (ONLINE)

Dates: September

Hours: 8hours
Location: Online (Zoom)

During Phase 1, for the duration of one month, we focus on learning about civic participation through online meetings with people working on. We will invite 4 mentors both from U.S. and Japan from different social activism areas. Also, it includes interviews, community-based learning activities in their home communities, and ongoing reflective writing.  The topics include, but not limited to:

  • Inclusive societies through human rights paradigms and DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging) principles
  • Self awareness of identification of qualities
  • Resources needed to be a grassroots activist

Phase 2: Learning Circle Advisors Sessions (ONLINE)

Date: October

Hours: 1-2hours

Location: Online (Zoom)

For Phase 2, participants will join online mentorship in learning U.S.-Japan relations and global contexts and intersectionality of different themes of social activism. Mentorship lasts for 1 to 1.5 hours over a one month period. Each group of participants will work closely with a mentor to deepen their understanding about the social issues in a global context and gain vocabulary to speak about the issues as a young activist. 

Also participants will increase their knowledge about how LGBTQ and DEIB are integrated into the U.S. support system. Additional offline/asynchronous activities are integrated with a course learning management system.

During Pillar Two, we will support participants following the session with learning circles (smaller groups of up to 5 students and a mentor) to help them define and develop new projects in their local community with ongoing mentorship through that coursework.

Phase 3: Empowerment for Action Session (IN PERSON)

Date: November

Hour: 4hours
Location: Japan

For Phase 3, all participants will join an in-person gathering in Japan.  This is to 1)reflect the learnings from the program 2)create a strong support system to sustain their project in their own communities.

Phase 3 helps create a culture of ongoing learning community among participants so it serves as a professional network beyond this program.

This gathering will be led iLEAP and the iLEAP alumni community.

Course Details


*Due to the nature of the scholarship, this program is only for those aged between 18 and 30 years old with U.S. citizenship or Japanese citizenship.

CCFS seeks a candidate who

  • Demonstrated interest in civic participation and social activism.
  • Demonstrated interest in learning from the U.S. experts and developing mentor-mentee relationships.
  • English ability: basic conversation expected – although interpretation will be provided as needed.

Preferably, a candidate who

  • lives and/or studies in areas outside of major urban centers;
  • those directly connected to and/or advocating for historically-marginalized groups in Japan
  • is with a demonstrated interest in Japan and/or US-Japan relations.

Application Process

  1. Submit the program application via the button down below
  2. Upon passing the first round, schedule an interview with iLEAP
  3. Interview
  4. Admission decision will be notified via email
Sunny Watts


Sunny Watts

For over twenty years, Sunny has been an educator with a passion for creating dynamic learning environments for individuals from diverse international backgrounds. When developing curriculum, she focuses on incorporating arts infused disciplines, so as to facilitate active learning where individuals fully participate in their growth and development. She works with GLA participants with a level of devotion, playfulness and flexibility in order to best light up their learning experience. |  Full bio>

English, Italian

J.B. Hoover

JB’s first work in the environment and education began when he was supervising a team of teachers in the Philippines preparing high school age Vietnam War refugees for US secondary school.  The school campus was flat, hot, and dry with very little vegetation. JB obtained 50 Philippine Mahogany seedlings and two thousand Ipil Ipil seeds. With the help of a forester, who also taught at the school, they developed a program for the students to plant and care for the trees. Watching the hundreds of surviving seedlings grow to provide shade and greatly improve the environment excited the students and even more so, JB.  Inspired by this success, JB developed a project in the northern mountains of the Philippines which was highly deforested.  Three partners, two in the Philippines and one in Japan, agreed on a rural development project that included large-scale reforestation. Over the next 25 years of the project, local people managed nurseries and planted thousands of trees on school campuses, community land, private land and on church properties.

This led JB back to graduate school where he obtained advanced degrees in community development and international agricultural development.  Working as a staff member for 12 years at ARI  (Asian Rural Institute) in Japan provided JB with the opportunity to teach.  For over 10 years, both as a staff member and as a volunteer, he taught Climate Change classes. In his role as Executive Director for the American Friends of ARI he obtained a major gift that put a large solar power system on ARI rooftops which provides much of ARI’s electricity needs.

The majority of JB’s climate change work has been as a volunteer. After attending a training by the city of Seattle to be a “Carbon Coach”, JB spearheaded efforts at his church to install a solar power electric production system. Working with other volunteers he constructed an organic vegetable garden that provided produce for the parish’s food ministry. He established systems for composting yard and food waste. His church received a national award as the “Most Sustainable Church” in 2017.

On the Diocesan level JB worked with the Bishop’s Committee for the Environment of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Washington to establish a carbon offset partnership with a diocese in the Philippines. Over the next 8 years, Filipino church members, most of them farmers, planted tens of thousands of trees to reforest vast areas of the southern Philippines sequestering many thousands of tons of carbon. In the process those farmers have been transforming their agricultural practices from one based on annual cash crops needing chemical fertilizer, to perennial agroforestry requiring no chemical inputs. During the Covid crisis, JB worked with an iLEAP staff member to develop an online (ZOOM) Climate Crisis Leadership course that is scheduled to be taught in 2022 to interested folks from all over the world.