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National Honoree

Photo of National Honoree Sawa Namba

Sawa Namba

Japan

Sawa Namba, 18, of Miyazaki City, a junior at Miyazaki Daiichi Junior & Senior High School, is involved in numerous activities to promote international exchange through teaching Japanese to people from other countries living in Japan and helping Japanese teenagers interact with them. Through her travelling and study abroad, she said she learned that “a lot of people are willing to study Japanese, but many of them give up studying on his/her way due to lack of Japanese teachers and financial problems.” Sawa tried to think of a way that she could help the situation.

First, she participated in Japanese practice event once a week in her town and helped people from other countries study Japanese. She also launched a youth-driven initiative to promote international exchange between Japanese teenagers and people from different countries living in Miyazaki. She hosted a variety of events, including a photo contest and a Japanese cherry blossom festival, and posted the videos online to enhance awareness of international exchange among teenagers. Moreover, Sawa taught Japanese in Vietnam for a month, which has a shortage of Japanese native teachers. Throughout her activity, Sawa watched more and more teenagers develop an interest in international exchange and get involved in her initiative. For her next step, Sawa is planning to collaborate with Miyazaki university to hold a major event to promote international exchange and help teenagers study abroad.