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(August 20, 2020)  Online Dialogue with Ms. Akiko Sakaedani: “Do you hear the sound of hope? -- Starting a children’s radio program in Rwanda” to be Co-hosted by Satsuki-kai America and Friends of UTokyo (FUTI)

Satsuki-kai America and Friends of UTokyo (FUTI) will present an online dialogue with Ms. Akiko Sakaedani, formerly with UNICEF's Rwanda Office. She has recently published a book titled “Do you hear the sound of hope?” which discusses how she started Rwanda’s first radio program for children.
Rwanda is a beautiful country with thousands of green hills. Many families in the villages do not own a TV, and radio is the main media. Back in 2013, there was no radio programme for small children, however. It was all about news, sports, and pop songs. As a believer in Early Childhood Development, Akiko decided to create the first children’s radio programme in Rwanda.

Date/Time  September 12, 2020, Saturday, 10am-11:30am (EDST-USA)
  [September 12, Saturday 11pm~, Japan Standard Time]
Format  Zoom invites will be sent to people who RSVP.
Language Japanese
RSVP Required. Please RSVP by September 9, 2020, by emailing with
1) your name, 2) email address,  3) major and year of graduation at Tokyo, 4) current affiliation, and
5) questions for the presenters.
Organizer  Satsuki-kai America
Co-organizer Friends of UTokyo (
Photos Photos taken during the session may be used in FUTI’s online and offline publications.
Please inform the organizer prior to the lecture if you do not wish to be included in the photos.
Note The opinions expressed during the dialogue may not necessarily represent those of the organizer or co-organizer.

Akiko Sakaedani Petrovic is an international development worker with 16 years of experience in Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. She mostly works in the areas of health communication, partnership and donor relations. She was the co-director of the Egypt Japan Education Partnership in 2019-2020, and currently works at the UNICEF Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa to coordinate the communication response to COVID-19. Based on her experience in Rwanda from 2013-2018, she published a book in June 2020 from Chobunsha publishing company titled Kibo Kikoeru (Do you hear the sound of hope?).
She was born in Tokyo, and graduated from the University of Tokyo in 2001, majoring in anthropology. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Intercultural Communication, and Master of Science in Public Health. She is married and has a son.

(July 27, 2020) Chicago Akamon-kai Holds Online Meeting Inviting Prof. Sadaoki Furui 

The Chicago Akamon-kai held an online meeting on Jul 19, 2020, inviting Professor Sadaoki Furui, Chief Research Director of the National Institute of Informatics, Professor Emeritus of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Chairman of the Board of Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago (TTIC).

Professor Furui presented a keynote lecture entitled “Research Trends and Future Prospects of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research”. He comprehensively walked through: 1) recent advancement of AI, 2) countries and organizations leading AI research, 3) what AI can't do or is not good at, 4) relationship between AI and human beings, 5) faking/privacy/fairness/code of conduct, 6) future of AI, and 7) future AI technology development in Japan. He reiterated it is crucially important for Japanese professionals to form a close, cross-disciplinary network with non-Japanese professionals from universities, research institutes and companies through global collaboration and competition. He also added it is imperative to advance interrelationship among humans - AI - science (natural and social sciences) to create a new, better era and introduced the aims of a new AI institute planned at the University of Tokyo.

A total of 26 members including honored guests gathered. Participants’ backgrounds were diverse, ranging from graduate students at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University to professionals such as researchers and corporate employees. Participants from outside Chicago, such as the East Coast as well as Japan (including Professor Teruo Fujii, Executive Vice President of the University of Tokyo), were also warmly welcomed and actively participated in the discussions that followed after the session by Professor Furui.

Though face-to-face communication is severely restricted this year due to the COVID-19 crisis, they hope to continue to deepen their fellowship by using online meeting tools.

(July 21, 2020) FUTI Online Dialogue “Learning from Covid-19: New York and Tokyo” (July 29, Zoom)

Friends of UTokyo (FUTI) is pleased to present an online dialogue between Prof. Peter J. Macotullio (Director, Institute for Sustainable Cities at Hunter College; UTokyo professor, 2001-2006) and Dr. Geeta Mehta (Adjunct Professor, Architecture and Urban Design, Columbia University; UTokyo, PhD). Together they have several decades of experience about global cities in America, Asia, Africa and Europe.
This is the inaugural talk in a series created to bring together UTokyo international alumni in the US and others interested in FUTI’s work.
Covid-19 infection and death rates have been very different in New York and Tokyo, two mega-cities with among the highest population densities in the world. While the two cities are not lacking in financial capital, could social capital be the reason for such different outcomes? The speakers will present their research and analysis of the possible answers to this and show how social capital is the essential wealth of communities in not only preparing for future health or climate shocks, but also in addressing the ongoing issues of social inequity and social justice. 

Date/Time July 29, 2020, Wednesday, 8pm-9.30pm (EDST-USA)
Format Zoom invite will be sent to people who RSVP
Language English
RSVP Required. Please RSVP by Monday, July 27, by emailing to with 1) your name, 2) email address, 3) major and year of graduation at Tokyo, 4) current affiliation, and 5) questions for the presenters. [If you would like more information about ways to become involved in FUTI, please indicate so.]
Organizer  Friends of UTokyo (
Co-sponsors Satsuki-kai America
Photos Photos taken during the session may be used in FUTI’s online and offline publications. Please inform the organizer prior to the lecture if you do not wish to be included in the photos.

Presenters’ Bios
Peter J. Marcoutullio:
Prof. Peter J. Marcotullio is Professor of Geography and Director of the Institute for Sustainable Cities at Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY). He is also Adjunct Professor of Urban Planning at Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). Prior to 2006, Prof. Marcotullio was Lecturer (1999-2001) and Professor (2001-2006) of Urban Planning in the Urban Engineering Department, University of Tokyo and held several positions at the United Nations University, Institute for Advanced Studies, Japan (1997-2008).
Geeta Mehta:
Dr. Geeta Mehta is an adjunct professor at Columbia University and the founder/president of Asia Initiatives ( where she developed Social Capital Credits (SoCCs), a community currency for social good that was recognized by Fast Company as the “World Changing Idea” this year. Geeta is also the co-founder of “URBZ: User Generated Cities” (  She has been recognized as One of the 21 Leaders of the 21st Century by Women’s eNews. She currently serves on New York Mayor’s Advisory Board for Waterfront Development, and several non-profit boards.

(June 22, 2020) Homecoming Day 2020 to be Held Online for the First Time 

Homecoming Day is a university-wide event for all alumni to get together again on the Hongo and Komaba Campuses. Since its launch in 2002, it has offered opportunites for alumni to reconfirm their ties with fellow alumni and also with the University.

Under the continuing effects of Covid-19, it has been decided that Homecoming Day 2020 will be held online for the first time.

Both live streaming and prerecorded video streaming will be available.


(May 28, 2020) Chinese Alumni Donate a Wide Range of Medical Goods to UTokyo 

Starting with the donation of 1,000 N95 Surgical Masks on April 28, 2020, Chinese alumni have donated various medical goods to UTokyo, as follows:

1st; 1,000 N 95 surgical masks (on April 28, 2020, photo on the left)
2nd; 2,100 GB19083 medical masks, 100 face shields and others (on May 15, 2020, photo on the lower left)
3rd; 400 face shields, 500 face goggles (on May 22, 2020, photo on the lower right)
4th; 30,000 PVC gloves for inspection
5th; JPY 54,000 donation to the COVID-19 Emergency Action Fund of UTokyo
Total worth: About JPY2.13million

All the medical goods were donated to medical institutions of UTokyo except 200 of the face shields, which were donated to the School of Engineering of UTokyo.

Mr. Fumiaki Sano, the secretariat of the UTokyo Beijing Friendship Association, who led these donations, said many Chinese alumni were worried about the negative effect on UTokyo by COVID-19 and more than 100 Chinese alumni both in China and Japan in total joined this donation project.

We would like to express our deepest appreciation to the heartful cooperation of all the members.


(May 21, 2020) Chicago Akamon-kai Holds Its Annual Meeting Online 

The Chicago Akamon-kai held its annual meeting on May 18, 2020. Because of the current COVID-19 crisis, they held an online annual meeting via Zoom for the first time. In spite of this situation, a total of 27 alumni gathered to join the meeting. Participants’ backgrounds were diverse, ranging from graduate students at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University to professionals such as researchers and corporate employees working in the city.

This year, they invited Professor Teruo Fujii, Executive Vice President of the University of Tokyo, to the meeting as a special guest speaker. Prof. Fujii presented a keynote lecture “Recent Activities at Utokyo” and he talked about how UTokyo is currently strengthening its ties with industry and research institutions around the world while keeping an eye on the changes that will occur in society in the future. He also explained about how UTokyo is dealing with the current global pandemic. After the lecture, they held a discussion session with Prof. Fujii and many of the participants were very enthusiastic in asking questions. They were able to have a meaningful exchange of ideas.

Besides this, the organizers of this meeting reported on activities during 2019, and proposed new executive members for the Chicago Akamon-kai for 2020. The proposal was approved.

Though face-to-face communication is severely restricted this year because of the COVID-19 crisis, they hope to continue to deepen their fellowship by using these online meeting tools.

 (April 30, 2020) COVID-19 Emergency Action Fund Set Up

With an aim to combat COVID-19 which is spreading exponentially worldwide, the COVID-19 Emergency Action Fund has been set up.
The funds raised during the first term will be utilized for development of remedies as well as for improvement of the medical care system required in an emergency to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
More than 10 million JPY has already been raised.
Thank you for your kind support.

[The first term] April 20, 2020 to June 30, 2020

Messages from President Gonokami

(March 12, 2020) India Akamonkai Meeting 2020 Held

On February 24th, 2020, the 2020 India Akamonkai Meeting was held at Mandap Hall, Hotel Jaypee Vasant Continental, and organized by The University of Tokyo India Office.

The objectives were as follows:

1. To honor Prof. Tatsuya OKUBO, Dean of the School of Engineering who was visiting Delhi prior to his superannuation at the end of March 2020

2. To provide an opportunity for the UTokyo student participants of the annual India visit program to interact with the UTokyo alumni in India

3. To strengthen the interactions among alumni members in India, as well as with the UTokyo India Office

A group of 13, which included eminent alumnae, attended the meeting. The small group enabled relaxed individual interaction and sufficient time to update each other.

The meeting began with opening remarks from the Dr. Neelam Ramaiah, Director of the UTokyo India Office. She introduced the office activities and elaborated on the commitment of the India Office towards creating awareness among Indian students and parents about the various undergraduate and graduate programs offered in English at several Japanese universities. The need for collaborative opportunities to establish strong industry-academia networks between India and Japan was stressed upon. She also spoke about using virtual platforms for organizing frequent interactive meetings between the alumni members.

In his welcome speech, Mr. Shrikrishna Kulkarni, President of the India Akamonkai, talked about his long connection with UTokyo, gave a briefing on India Akamonkai, and elaborated on ways to conduct the meetings in the future. He urged the need to contribute to the development of the India Akamonkai and help to increase the flow of Indian students to Japanese universities. Mr. Kulkarni also discussed the strategy to enhance the sponsoring and internship opportunities for Indian students by Japanese companies in India.

The speech by the Guest of Honor, Prof. Tatsuya OKUBO, was very motivating. He introduced the School of Engineering, and talked about the changes and new strategies introduced for smooth and effective functioning. He also elaborated on his vision for UTokyo and the need for futuristic strategies in education.

Subsequent to the self-introduction session, the members enjoyed enhanced interactions during the dinner time. All attendees shared the need for enhancing alumni activities and growth opportunities in the academia-industry sector between India and Japan.

Speech by the Guest of Honor, Prof. Tatsuya Okubo, UTokyo          Group photo


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