Japanese Government Honors EHS Teacher

Eureka— This October, Eureka High School library media teacher Loretta Saenz will depart for Tokyo as a participant in the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund (JFMF) Teacher Program. Saenz was selected from a national pool of nearly 2,300 applicants by a panel of educators to earn this honor. This program allows distinguished primary and secondary school educators in the U.S. to travel to Japan for three weeks in an effort to promote greater intercultural understanding between the two nations.


“I am very excited to have been selected to receive this honor,” said Saenz. “In addition to the preparation I have done regarding study of the Japanese educational system, I have also been looking to how I can bring back information for our Kamisu exchange students. I am working with Greg Aslanian to use what I learn to help promote our sister city connection and to help our middle school exchange students prepare for their participation in the Kamisu Exchange.”

Saenz will be among 200 educators visiting Japan in October. They will begin their visit in Tokyo with a practical orientation on Japanese life and culture and meetings with Japanese government officials and educators. They will then travel in groups of 20 to selected host cities where they will have direct contact with Japanese teachers and students during visits to primary and secondary schools as well as a teachers college. They also will visit cultural sites and local industries in addition to a brief homestay with a Japanese family. Saenz is assigned to Joyo, Kyoto.

“Although I first learned of this program a few years ago,” remarked Saenz, “I recently “stumbled” across last year’s delegation as they were preparing to leave San Francisco. I spent some time talking with a number of educations and I was very impressed with their enthusiasm and openness to learning. I knew that I wanted to part of this group.”

The Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund, based in Tokyo, oversees all aspects of the Teacher Program. The program is sponsored by the government of Japan as was launched in 1997 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Government Fulbright Program, which has enabled more than 6,000 Japanese citizens to study in the U.S. on Fulbright fellowships for graduate education and research. The Institute of International Education acts as the agency for the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund to coordinate the recruitment and pre-departure activities of the Teacher Program in the United States.

Six hundred educators from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will be invited to visit Japan in June, October, and November of 2006 (200 in each group). To date, more than 5,200 primary and secondary educators have visited Japan through the JFMF Teacher Program. Upon their return, program participants share what they have learned about Japan with their students and communities through a variety of outreach projects.

Primary and secondary school educators throughout the United States can apply to take part in one of the two trips to Japan scheduled for 2007, as guests of the Japanese government. Teachers of all disciplines, including art, physical education, English, ESL, history, geography, math, science, and special education, from every region of the United States, are encouraged to apply. Applicants are not required or expected to have previous knowledge of Japanese or Japan. The application deadline for both 2007 trips is December 7, 2006. For more information about the 2007 competition, please refer to or contact 1-888-527-2636.