Volunteer Video up on YouTube!

Please enjoy our latest video “Volunteer Voices from ARI.” Long term Volunteers from Japan and the US talk about their impressions and what they have learned during their time at ARI. Of course, we receive volunteers from other countries, too!

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Report on the ARI Graduate Study for download

What is the impact of ARI’s training program on rural leaders? To find out the long term effects, a study was conducted under the auspices of Sophia University’s Institute for Comparative Culture (Tokyo). A grant from the Fetzer Institute in the United States allowed researchers for a two-years study on campus and abroad to interview training participants, graduates and others. In the 40 years history of the Asian Rural Institute, it was the first time that an objective training evaluation by a third party had been carried out in such a scale. The results were presented in a symposium last month along with the publication of a 32 page summary … Read more…

Panel Dicussion ”Training for Transformation”

Panelists will discuss how a distinctive leaders training program has impacted the lives of its participants over the past 40 years. The focus will be on how training can relay more than knowledge and skills but also influence values having the potential to effect broader social change. While many programs focus on skills and knowledge development alone, the Asian Rural institute (ARI) located in Tochigi Prefecture, aims to also transfer values which bring about more equitable and just communities. Stories from research as well as from current staff and former participants will share some of the changes experienced by individuals and how they are able to impact their local communities. Introduction to the Panelists Tomoko Arakawa, ARI Director Tomoko has been engaged in the work of nurturing and training grassroots rural community leaders from developing countries at the Asian Rural Institute (ARI) in Tochigi prefecture since 1995. She is the new Director as of April 2015, after serving as served as the General Manager / Associate Director since 2009 and Curriculum Director (2003-2009). In 1995, after working as an English and Japanese language teacher at junior high schools for several years, she completed her MA in Sociology at Michigan State University. She graduated from International Christian University in Tokyo in 1990. Sarajean Rossitto ARI Assessment Project Coordinator, Tokyo-based Nonprofit NGO consultant Sarajean facilitates workshops, seminars and projects aimed at developing skills, organizational capacity, the understanding of global issues and effective partnerships. She has worked for 20 years with nonprofit organizations in Japan and the US, including the Japan Platform, Give2Asia Foundation, ARK, TELL, For Empowering Women Japan (FEW) and Mirai no Mori. She has facilitated training programs through JICA, Temple University and has taught a course on NGOs at Sophia since Fall 2012. She holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University where she focused on human rights in northeast Asia. Zachivolu Rhakho, (Acivo) Nagaland, India (Northeast state of India) After graduating from ARI in 2000, Acivo worked for the Women’s department of CBCC (Chakhesang Baptist Church Council) promoting organic farming, micro credit and traditional culture with women in mountain areas. In 2009, she was an ARI Training Assistant and then became an ARI staff member for one year in the International relations section. From 2011 to 2012 she worked in Cambodia, as a manager of a dormitory for students from rural areas and a coordinator of agriculture project in Preah Vihear. In 2013 Achivo returned to ARI to serve as the person in charge of meal services. Rev. Bernard Timothy Appau, (Timo) Ghana After graduating from ARI in 2001, Timo served local churches in Ghana as a pastor while working his own farm and being involved in rural development work. He also was engaged in the support of HIV/AID patients and their families and the eradication of Malaria. He was an ARI Training Assistant in 2007 and from 2008 he joined the ARI Community Life staff. He has also been an instructor for poultry farming as well. Since 2009, he has been a lecturer in the Utsunomiya University International Carreer Development English Camp. Richard Gardner is Professor of Religion in the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Sophia University, and editor of Monumenta Nipponica. David H. Slater is a Professor of Cultural Anthropology in the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Sophia University, and the Director of The Institute of Comparative Culture. In English; no translation. Open to all, no prior registration necessary Date & Time 28 April, 19:00-21:00 Location Sophia University, bldg. 10, room 301. Access: Yotsuya station (JR, Marunouchi and Namboku subway lines) Map link to campus: http://www.sophia.ac.jp/eng/info/access/directions/access_yotsuya Map link to campus … Read more…

Photo Roster of the Class of 2014

Since all of ‘students’ in the program are adults, and have demonstrated themselves as leaders in their community, ARI prefers the term ‘participant,’ rather than ‘student’ or ‘trainee.’ ARI actively recruits people from the most marginalized rural communities from countries in Asia and Africa. Some examples include tribal peoples, minorities, and those oppressed by the caste system. Each year there are about 25 – 30 participants in the program, from 14 -16 different countries. This year 2014 we have 31 participants from 16 countries (including two Japanese graduate interns, and one training assistant). It is always the goal of ARI to have a 50/50 male-female ratio; however, it is not … Read more…

March 21 to 23 Second Hand Book & Clothes Market

Please visit our next exciting market at the Seminar House! We are selling used books as well as clothes. As for books, we have novels, non-fiction, art books, foreign language books, comics and more. In the clothes section you will find skirts, shirts, children’s wear and other super-cheap items. Please drop by with your friends and family! All revenue will go to our training participants’ scholarship fund. WHERE AND WHEN? [place] Nasu Seminar House (329-2703. Tochigi Prefecture, Nasushiobara City, Tsukinokizawa 420-22) [date]  March 21 (Fri) to 23 (Sun) [time] 11am to 6pm [contact] Mr. Yamashita (nsh@ari-edu.org / 0287-36-3111)

Training Report 2013

ARI curriculum corrdinator Yukiko Oyanagi gave a report of the 2013 Rural Leaders Training at the commencement service last December. First of all, I am deeply thankful for God’s abundant blessings and guidance throughout our 2013 Rural Leaders Training Program at the Asian Rural Institute. I am also grateful that, thanks to the support and cooperation of many friends and supporters, we were able to complete this year’s training program and send out 31 new graduates of sixteen nationalities. A new learning environment Two years and nine months have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake. By your great support, we have recovered from the damage from the disaster. This … Read more…

The 41st Commencement Service

The 41st Commencement Service of the Asian Rural Institute was held on December 12 (Sat). This year, 31 participants from 16 countries graduated from the ARI training program. About 85 guests came to attend the ceremony. We are deeply thankful for the many visitors from far and near as well as the volunteers from Japan and overseas. Without their cooperation it would not have been possible to complete the Rural Leaders Training safely. After beginning the ceremony with an opening hymn and a prayer from Rev. Ban, the program proceeded with an address from director Rev. Otsu, a prayer of thanksgiving by Rev. Appau and the report of the training … Read more…