Michael Hamilton ’15, a recent Monmouth University political science graduate, will be traveling to Japan this summer to participate in “Building the TOMODACHI Generation,” an intensive, two-week program designed for Japanese and American students with an interest in leadership training, cross-cultural exchange, and entrepreneurial approaches to addressing social challenges.
The program, which engages 20 Japanese students and 15 U.S. students, is a partnership between The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC) in Washington, D.C. and the U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI). Hamilton received the award for developing a civic engagement project to help Japanese residents negatively impacted by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011. This was the world’s largest nuclear disaster since 1986 at Chernobyl. The group proposed a civic engagement project to help Japanese residents suffering from mental health issues as a result of the nuclear calamity. Hamilton was encouraged to participate in the program while interning in the Washington semester during the spring of 2015. He was also a full-time intern at the consulting firm of Jacques and Associates while in Washington. This D.C.-based lobbying group represents firms in the defense, homeland security, space and intelligence industries.
“After witnessing the Tohoku region first hand, even four years after the disaster, it is remarkable how much damage is still very visible and how much of the region was washed away by the Japanese 3/11 Tsunami disaster. In Tohoku, we learned the differences in governmental strategies and structure. It was refreshing to see that there are many different approaches to solving such problems to the disaster as I compared it to our own Sandy issues, but it struck my own heart to realize that our area was mostly recovered, while there are still so many displaced in temporary housing still in Tohoku,” said Hamilton.
“Congratulations to Michael on this well-deserved honor. He is a very talented, hard-working, and compassionate young man. While at Monmouth he played a leading role on our debate team and in starting a debate team at Asbury Park High School. He understands deeply that our best leaders advocate for those who have difficulty fighting for themselves,” said Joseph Patten, Ph.D., chair of the Monmouth University Department of Political Science and Sociology.
Last year, 15 Monmouth University students participated in the Washington Semester program and interned at various agencies including the White House, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Marshals Service.
For more information, visit http://www.twc.edu/internships/additional-programs/tomodachi.