We express our heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering support. Our flagship social innovation program, 2023 WISE in Saku-Karuizawa, Nagano, was a tremendous success, thanks to the dedication of our talented mentors and facilitators. We were delighted to welcome 29 participants from various countries, including the United States, Cambodia, Venezuela, Colombia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Kenya, Norway, and Japan.
Our esteemed mentors included Mr. Tatsuya Matsui, a globally-active robot designer, and Ms. Marika Tazawa, the owner of Kurabito Stay, where travelers can immerse themselves in the sake-brewing experience in Saku. The program took place at Yuai Sanso, a beautiful garden in Karuizawa, where we all shared invaluable moments together. After COVID years, we strongly believe that such an engaging and intimate event within our WISE program will have a profound impact on the participants.
The winning team, composed of energetic individuals aged 16-19, showcased remarkable ideas and enthusiasm. We sincerely hope that the experiences they shared here will create a ripple effect, ultimately bringing about positive change on a broader societal level. As you may be aware, rural areas like Nagano, younger generations and women continue to face challenges stemming from unconscious bias and traditional gender-based roles imposed upon them. Breaking free from the conservative mindset deeply rooted in tightly knit communities remains a significant hurdle for them. JSIE remains committed to providing opportunities for these younger generations and women to unlock their full potential.
We would like to extend special thanks to our supporters at GlobalGiving for their invaluable assistance in running this program. Once again, thank you for your continued support. We are thrilled to announce that we will be continuing this project for 2024!