Haruka Sawada, who hopes to build bridges between the United States and her native country Japan, has been named a winner in the Dilena Takeyama Center’s scholarship program.
The $8,000 scholarship will assist Sawada’s studies at San Francisco State University, where she is a sophomore majoring in international relations. She transferred here from Meiji Gakuin University in Yokohama, where she focused on global studies.
“I was attracted to San Francisco State University because I heard that San Francisco was very metropolitan with people from many different countries,” said Sawada. “I was really surprised by the number of other Asian people and Arab people here.”
In her application, Sawada said that she is interested in becoming a diplomat. Alluding to World War II, when the U.S. and Japan were at war, she said there is a need to build two kinds of “bridges.”
“One will be between Japan and America, and another will be between previous and future generations,” she wrote. “Currently, there are problems between Japan and other countries, for example the (U.S. military) base issue in Okinawa. If people do not know the desolation of war, there is possibility that one or more sides might use force to resolve these problems.”
She noted that San Francisco State University offers a number of courses that explore important relevant subjects, such as international law, terrorism, political warfare and peace. “I am proud to join SFSU’s International Studies Department because the knowledge I will acquire will give me skills to effectively help future generations to understand the truth of war, and this will foster better relationships between countries.”
Sawada had previously visited the United States with her family, yet she acknowledged feeling homesick at times. However, she has become active with the Japanese Students Association and is helping to plan an internship fair for its members.
The Dilena Takeyama Center launched the scholarship program to assist students in the U.S. and Japan who plan to utilize their studies and future careers in ways that promote improved relations between the two countries.