On August 29, the Consul-General of Japan in Houston, The Honorable Hideo Fukushima, graciously hosted a reception celebrating the 2018 Houston-Chiba Sister City Youth Ambassadors and the 35th Anniversary of the Youth Ambassador Program.
Each of the 2018 Youth Ambassadors shared highlights from their trip to Chiba City, Japan from May 31 - June 14, 2018. Stories were told of host family hospitality, school cleaning experiences, food adventures, and meetings with city officials.
Remarks from Consul General Fukushima, City of Houston Chief Development Office Andy Icken, and JASH President Bill Weiland stressed the importance of youth exchanges in the growing and strengthening of collaborative cross border alliances.
Written greetings received from Second Lady Karen Pence also noted how people-to-people exchange provides a "strong foundation for diplomacy." (To read the letter, please scroll down.)
In the words of Chiba Mayor Toshihito Kumagai conveyed through a letter addressed to JASH President Bill Weiland to mark 35 years of youth exchange, it is our hope that the Youth Ambassadors "will expand their horizons using the knowledge they gained through this exchange, and serve as bridges of friendship between our two cities."
Special thanks go to River Oaks Baptist School and Chiba City International Association for their efforts in support of the program.