The Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) will provide 12 U.S. teachers and administrators with the opportunity to travel to Japan to learn about ESD efforts and strengthen ESD curricula in both countries. The program is fully-funded with the exception of some meals. ESD is “a vision of education that seeks to balance human and economic well-being with cultural traditions and respect for the earth’s natural resources,” according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Twelve teachers from Japan will travel to the U.S. in late April, and 12 teachers from the U.S. will travel to Japan in late June. At the end of the program in each country, all participating teachers will gather for a few days of joint collaboration. For more details and program dates, please visit the Program Specifics page of this website.

Participants will be required to demonstrate development of ESD curriculum as a result of the program. An impact report on this development and its implementation, including documentation, must be submitted within four months of U.S. participants' return from Japan. Participants will also be expected to submit a reflection report following the Joint Conference, which will be held in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for ESD is administered by Fulbright Japan and jointly funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and the Japanese Government’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.


The Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for ESD is designed to raise awareness of ESD-oriented school programs, enhance ESD-related curricula in both countries, and deepen a sense of global interconnectedness between teachers in Japan and the United States in two vital areas of ESD focus: food education and environmental education.

The primary objectives are:

  • To increase understanding between the peoples of Japan and the United States and to foster mutual exchange between teachers in Japan and the United States.
  • To enrich first through twelfth grade curricula by presenting teachers with the opportunity to integrate international perspectives and methodologies, specifically in the area of ESD, in classrooms and communities.
  • To enhance ESD curricula in both Japan and the United States.
  • To expand professional development opportunities for U.S. and Japanese primary and secondary educators.

In 2002, the United Nations adopted resolution 57/254 declaring 2005 – 2014 the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD). According to UNESCO, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is defined as “learning to: respect, value and preserve the achievements of the past; appreciate the wonders and the peoples of the Earth; live in a world where all people have sufficient food for a healthy and productive life; assess, care for and restore the state of our Planet; create and enjoy a better, safer, more just world; [and] be caring citizens who exercise their rights and responsibilities locally, nationally and globally.”

The overall goal of the DESD is to integrate the principles, values, and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning. This educational effort will encourage changes in behavior that will create a more sustainable future in terms of environmental integrity, economic viability, and a just society for present and future generations. (Source: UNESCO Website)

Fulbright Japan, officially known as the Japan-United States Educational Commission, is a bi-national commission, funded by the governments of the United States and Japan – with additional private sector support – to promote mutual understanding between the people of Japan and the United States through the administration of educational exchange programs. Fulbright Japan administers the Fulbright Grant Program and Fulbright alumni activities in Japan and operates an educational information service. Fulbright Japan administered the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund program from its inception in 1997 through its conclusion in 2008. Fulbright Japan is responsible for the overall administration of the Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for ESD.

Visit the Fulbright Japan website for more information

Participants are required to demonstrate development of ESD curriculum as a result of the program. An impact report on this development and its implementation must be submitted within four months of U.S. participants' return from Japan.

See below for a few examples of impact reports from previous participants:

2013 Program Alumni:

David Kline, Montgomery School science teacher, PA (54.9 KB, PDF)

Krystal Marks, Chamiza Elementary School gifted teacher, NM (46.1 KB, PDF)

Yonnette Moore, Bishop Walker School for Boys 2nd grade teacher, DC (121 KB, PDF)

2012 Program Alumni:

Merinda Davis, Lakeridge Junior High School teacher, UT (165 KB, PDF)

Andrew Hurie, La Causa Charter School fine arts and vocational education administrator, WI (53.7 KB, PDF)

Maggie Rogers, Roland Park Country School English teacher, MD (170 KB, PDF) - This follow-up report was submitted to IIE in 2014 on Maggie's initiative.

2011 Program Alumni:

Regina Brinker, Christensen Middle School science teacher, CA (22.2 KB, PDF)

Janine Gacek, Junction City School 4th and 5th grade teacher, CA (98.9 KB, PDF)

Jonathon Medeiros, Kauai High School English teacher, HI (131 KB, PDF)

Michael Miller, Wyomissing Area Junior-Senior High School art teacher, PA (42.8 KB, PDF)

Note: Participants will also be required to submit a reflection report following the First Joint Conference in San Francisco, describing their take-away from the conference and their expectations for their program in Japan.

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