By Kayoko Omori ‘MBA 2013
The campus of Thunderbird School of Global Management may seem calm and quiet to naive onlookers, but this school of international business welcomes endless visits by extraordinary international leaders. Students were delighted to greet the current Japanese Ambassador to the United States, Ichiro Fujisaki during his visit last Thursday, 31st October 2012. Ambassador Fujisaki served in Jakarta, London and Paris before becoming the Japanese Ambassador to the US four years ago. His honorary service extends to the UN, WTO and the UNHCR where he has been the ambassador and chairman. He will retire after the election on Tuesday this week.
During his visit, the ambassador popped his head into a couple of our classes, Global Leadership and an executive MBA class to join students in one of our usual interactive sessions where various cultural perspectives are voiced freely at no surprise. He shared his views by identifying leadership as foresight, decision and responsibility, a very serious sounding acronym, FDR. One very interesting story that echoed his personal decree was an occurrence after the Tsunami where all garbage in the ocean was moving towards US west coast and the Japanese government hesitated to bear the responsibility to resolve the issue. The ambassador strongly urged the Japanese government to proactively clean up the mess before the wastage got to the United States so that the good relationship between both countries was not jeopardized.
Ambassador Fujisaki enjoyed a warm lunch with the faculty and continued on to participate in an engaging session with students interested in international affairs or intrigued with the current Japanese politics and economics. During the session, the ambassador stressed on several global issues we students should be concerned about and stay on top of; regional development, Arab Spring, and nuclear issues. He also emphasized on the importance of seeing the true nature of issues. He said, “otherwise, we would miss the point of argument”.
In contrast with the ambassador’s amazing achievements and positions, his first impression resonated humility. As a person, he came across as friendly, engaging and very charming. Call it ice breaking, being diplomatic or perhaps just being himself, Ambassador Fujisaki opened the floor for questions with a subtle sense of humor by saying, “Don’t tell others”, and answered all our questions thoroughly. He surprised us all by extending a wristlet he designed himself as a gift to each student.
I’m proud to say that we had the opportunity to enjoy the presence of Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki and gained some very valuable insights to further guide us in our constantly evolving global world.