The Mansfield Fellows are accomplished experts in the U.S. federal service. During their Fellowship year in Japan, they work with the Japanese government on a host of issues relevant to U.S. interests in Asia and around the world.
After returning from Japan, Mansfield Fellows join a network of program graduates that represent a rich geographically, culturally, and professionally diverse cadre in the U.S. government and elsewhere. The Mansfield Foundation engages the alumni Fellows through events in the United States and Japan, and also promotes their accomplishments as they continue through their careers.
Alumni Fellows also play an important mentoring role in the Fellowship long after they leave the program. The Mansfield Foundation works to incorporate its alumni into its recruitment efforts, connect them to current Fellows and to interested applicants, and to using feedback from the Fellows for program improvement.
Mansfield Alumni Fellow Testimonials
“The Mansfield Fellowship Program has been an invaluable experience. In Japan, I had the unique opportunity to work hand-in-hand with my Japanese government counterparts on a wide range of domestic and international issues. The experience helped broaden my knowledge of Japan’s drug regulatory system, foreign affairs, customs enforcement and more. Since I returned to the FDA, the information and skills acquired in Japan have been a tremendous help in my day-to-day work coordinating public health issues. I will always cherish the working relationships and personal friendships developed through this program and I plan to continue working in this area for many years to come.”
– Sema Hashemi, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, MFP No. 12
“My experience as a Mansfield Fellow has been an amazing opportunity for me. As a trade analyst for the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington DC, my knowledge of what is going on in Japan was limited to information I gleaned from a limited number of sources. Being in Japan has allowed me to develop a fuller picture of the broad economic and political trends in Japan. Having the opportunity to be placed in Ministries related to my job has given me an amazing opportunity to understand the complexities of inter-agency relationships. This knowledge will make me a much more effective analyst when I return to Washington.”
– Jay Biggs, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, MFP No. 13
“I spent my Fellowship year learning as much as I could about the U.S.-Japan security relationship, the ‘keystone of peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.’ The opportunities afforded to me during the Fellowship have allowed me to gain a better understanding of Japanese defense issues, including Japan Self-Defense Forces and bilateral transformation issues, missile defense and bilateral and defense cooperation issues, from the perspectives of the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Diet. Even better, I’ve been able to form professional and personal friendships with those who will be my counterparts during my follow-on assignment to the Joint Staff at U.S. Forces Japan.”
– Cory Hanna, U.S. Air Force, MFP No. 13
“The Mansfield Fellowship Program offers an outstanding opportunity for those U.S. federal employees interested in actively understanding the government of Japan’s policy and decision-making process. Following the one-year Japanese language and culture training, Fellows are placed within Japan’s civil servants, agencies and commercial companies that are associated with his/her U.S. federal agency. The year in Japan offers the Fellow various opportunities to learn about their counterpart agencies, as well as discover new and exciting things about Japan’s history, culture, and people through the various site visits. The personal contacts and understanding I gained during the two-years as a Mansfield Fellow has prepared me to effectively serve as a solid ‘cross-bridge’ between the U.S. Department of Energy and our Japanese counterpart agencies, while also equipping me with the knowledge and skills to work as a ‘catalyst’ between our agencies on new initiatives that may come up in the future.”
– Ken Ishimaru, U.S. Department of Energy, MFP No. 13
“The Mansfield fellowship has been an extremely rewarding and unforgettable experience. As an international trade litigation attorney at the Department of Justice, I was interested in Japan’s trade policies as well as its legal system. To learn about Japan’s approach to trade agreements and development, I was placed in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where I worked with negotiators of Economic Partnership Agreements and representatives to the World Trade Organization, and subsequently worked with a team at the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry by researching various Asian countries’ legislative framework for private investment in public infrastructure projects. With respect to the Japanese legal system, I was fortunate to have been able to observe classes not only at the Legal Research and Training Institute where judges and prosecutors are trained, but also at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Law. My placement at the Tokyo High Court enabled me to not only observe firsthand proceedings in civil litigation and settlement conferences, but also to discuss with the judges their views on the legal system. I am truly grateful at having had the opportunity to gain a ‘hands-on’ experience where I gained valuable insight about Japanese legal system that couldn’t possibly have come from just reading about it in a textbook.”
– Michael Panzera, U.S. Department of Justice, MFP No. 13
“The United States will continue to be involved in East Asian security matters for the foreseeable future. This involvement will require understanding the perspectives of the countries in the region, and the Mansfield Fellowship program provides a great chance to learn and consider the perspectives of one of our closest allies. Sitting in an office surrounded by Japanese counterparts, listening to daily conversations about issues related to U.S.-Japan security ties, and discussing defense topics relevant to both countries helped cement professional relationships, which will inevitably be utilized in the near future. I am thankful for the opportunities given to me by the Mansfield Fellowship program and look forward to meeting again with my Japanese counterparts during regular bilateral exchanges.”
– Janet Cho, U.S. Department of Defense, MFP No. 14
“Japan is modern but not western. While Americans and Japanese share many of the same values, namely strong democratic traditions and respect for the rule of law, we make decisions and implement public policy very differently. This fellowship provided a candid view of how fisheries and ocean policy are implemented in Japan; an appreciation of Japanese culture, history, and traditions; and, for many of my colleagues I was the first American they had ever communicated with in their language-meaning they could express themselves more comfortably.”
– Michael Clark, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, MFP No. 14
“My participation in the Fellowship allowed me the opportunity to learn about Japan’s current transportation issues and initiatives, its regulatory approach, and the ways that its central and local governments are working to preserve and improve on their existing transportation systems. In the process, I found that the perspectives gained in talking to my Japanese counterparts were also helpful in gaining insights into transportation issues back at home.”
– Elizabeth Machek, U.S. Department of Transportation, MFP No. 14