Kingfisher Global Leadership Program

Empower the next generation of Kyoto University students with the skills and networks they need to thrive in an increasingly globalized society

Number of Participants: Limited to 10 currently enrolled Kyoto University students. We accept undergraduate and graduate students.

Goals of the Program

  • Provide students with opportunities to have conversations with prominent leaders in their respective fields
  • Learn about leaders individual career paths and leadership styles
  • Provide leadership opportunities in meetings for students
  • Build confidence in business level English speaking situations
  • Promote participants’ desire/ability to become strong leaders who can make a measurable impact in their chosen fields
  • Support students in developing a personal mission and vision for their future careers
  • Expose participants to a variety of international career opportunities in different fields through visits to organizations including, but not limited to:
    • International Development – World Bank, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, United Nations Foundation
    • Government – United States Department of State, Peace Corps, Japanese Embassy in Washington, DC
    • Research & Development – NASA, NIH, NIST
    • Think Tanks – Brookings, American Enterprise Institute, Center for American Progress, Center for a New American Security, Stimson Center
    • Business Leaders – Dr. Sachiko Kuno, Dr. Ryuji Ueno, Fellows in the Halcyon Incubator
    • Non-Profit Sector – Mansfield Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, Sasakawa USA
    • Media – NHK, Newseum, Asahi Shimbun

In 2011, Dr. Sachiko Kuno, Co-Founder, President, and CEO of S&R Foundation was approached by the DC chapter of the Kyoto University Alumni under the initiative of Dr. Yuki Watabe and Mr. Takashi Muragaki to create the Global Leadership Program. Dr. Watabe and Mr. Muragaki proposed a Washington, DC-based short-term study abroad program focused on introducing international career opportunities and leadership skills to students from Kyoto University.

Dr. Kuno has supported this program since its conception in 2011, implementation in 2012, and its expansion in 2013. In 2015 this program evolved into the current Kingfisher Global Leadership Program, a two-week-long U.S. study abroad program for undergraduate and graduate students implemented by S&R Foundation in partnership with Kyoto University.

From 2021, this program will continue under Kyodai Collaborative’s leadership.

To be eligible for the Kingfisher program, applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Undergraduate or Graduate Student
  • Enrolled at Kyoto University
  • Proficient in English because sessions will be held in Japanese or English at a very high level
  • IELTS Score 6.0 or greater
  • TOEFL iBT score 80 or greater
  • TOEFL IPT(and PBT) score of 600 or greater
  • Eiken Pre-1, or 1
  • Toeic Score of 700 or greater

Participants are expected to:

  • Participate in all program activities
  • Be aware of the demanding schedule.
  • Be interested in International Affairs/Development
  • Program has a focus on the U.S.-Japan Relationship, but is not limited to it
  • Be able to act responsibly throughout the duration of the program
  • Program Staff will not be with participants 24/7, and they are facilitators not chaperones
  • Be inquisitive and proactively engaged
  • Program requires participants to actively take part in Q&A sessions.
  • You will be required to give a final presentation on your experiences in front of invited guests and program staff.
  • Be open to experiences outside of your academic field
  • Program is interdisciplinary by nature
    Academic excellence

Selection process:

Participants will be determined by a joint committee of participating Kyoto University Staff/Professors, and Kyodai Collaborative leadership. They will review all application materials. Top applicants will be selected and proceed to the interview stage. Final candidates will be determined after the interview stage is complete.

Selection criteria require all applicants to:

  • Meet all eligibility requirements
  • Provide copy of Academic Transcript
  • Provide copy of TOEFL iBT, IELTS, OR TOEIC Scores (only one test required)
  • Resume/CV Answers: Experience in each section is evaluated as a whole and having experience in each section is not required for final selection
  • Discuss:
    • Past living/study abroad experiences
    • Work/Internship Experience
    • Extra-Curricular Activities
    • Other Skills/Certifications (Includes Awards)
  • Demonstrate English Proficiency (determined through Test Scores, English essay and short answer responses, Interview)
  • Write the required essay (500-750 words)

Example Essay Questions

  • Describe your motivation for applying to the Kingfisher Program and your future career goals.
  • How can Kingfisher help your personal development?
  • What makes you feel as if you will be a good fit for the program?

“This program is the only one that I’ve participated in so far that has made me feel like the coordinators really want me to learn something and that it was delivered to that effect.“


“Truly eye-opening horizon-expanding intellectually stimulating experience. Made me feel like I could make it out on the international stage. Very good programming.”


“The Halcyon Fellow Kick-off meeting was a great time for me because it was the first time to watch American Style (professional) presentations. It was inspiring and gave good tips to prepare for own presentations.”


“Best program in my life. I could get some confidence through discussion with more people.”


“I learned and understood the importance of leadership and career development qualities especially that of relationship building.”