The Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) provides 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).

Teachers from Japan will travel to the U.S. in late April, and 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.

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.

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 program 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. 

The main theme of the program is Environmental Education, incorporating as appropriate Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as sustainable cities and communities, as well as leveraging Japan’s increased focus on international education and exchange in advance of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.


Primary Objectives

  • 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.