Misato Nagakawa 

Misato’s study abroad experiences through the AFLSP fueled her passion for peacebuilding and equipped her well for a future dedicated to promoting peace and dialogue between East Asian nations.

With a mission of “creating a society where East Asia’s next generation will not regard its fellow nations and people as ‘geographically close but psychologically far’,” Misato has always been a peacebuilder at heart. Her lifelong passion for promoting reconciliation and mutual understanding within East Asia naturally led her to the AFLSP, which supported her master’s degree studies through the CAMPUS Asia Program at the University of Tokyo – a double degree program that offered her an opportunity to study abroad at both Seoul National University and Peking University.

 “In addition to providing me with the chance to live abroad and expand my perspectives, the AFLSP served as an amazing springboard to pursue my mission of cultivating peace and harmony amongst the people of East Asia,” says Misato. Reflecting back on some of her study abroad highlights, Misato recalls being the only foreign intern at the Korea National Commission for UNESCO: “It was a valuable experience for me because being a minority helped me see and experience things from the other side, giving me a whole new perspective,” she says. During her time in China, an opportunity to visit comfort woman opened her eyes to the importance of peacebuilding and the impact the next generation can make. “The daughter of a comfort woman expressed her desire to pass the peace to the next generation, just like a mother passes love to her own child,” Misato says. “It was so simple, but powerful, and was a life-changing moment for me because I realized that peace can start from simple things, and that I just need to keep pushing for what I believe in. I am so grateful to the Bai Xian community for empowering me to follow my passion and create a path for myself.”

Today, Misato is a senior associate at GLOBIS University and a part-time lecturer at Musashi University, where she hopes to inspire the younger generation to champion peace and effect change. She is also a director at Wake Up Japan, a non-profit organization that promotes social justice through educational programs, activism, and content sharing. In 2020, she launched the Peace Ambassador Project in East Asia under Wake Up Japan, organizing monthly dialogue sessions and field trips to bring up grassroots peace ambassadors within East Asia. As a Bai Xian Alumna, Misato remains engaged with the Bai Xian community and was, along with her alumni teammates, one of the recent winners of the Bai Xian Project Award for their proposal to publish a book comprising articles on East Asian topics written by young professionals, with the aim of promoting mutual understanding across cultures, professions, and perspectives. “Thanks to the AFLSP and my work experience, I have learned that differences in opinion need not lead to conflict, but can be harnessed to power social change for a more peaceful society. Through education and exchange, I hope to reach people of all backgrounds and stimulate constructive dialogues that transcend differences.”