The United States Japan Exchange & Teaching Programme Alumni Association (USJETAA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational and cultural organization that promotes grassroots friendship and understanding between the United States and Japan through the personal and professional experiences of over 32,000 Americans who have participated on the JET Programme since its inception in 1987, as well as those participants from other countries who have settled in the U.S. after leaving Japan.
- Serves as a resource for individual JET alumni, JETAA chapters nationwide, and potential JET participants.
- Supports the leadership of JETAA chapters with programming, membership recruitment, chapter management, leadership, professional development, and fundraising.
- Supports the JET Programme and engages the US-Japan community.
USJETAA partners with various organizations, including the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP), Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR), Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA, and the U.S. State Department, to support programming and outreach for current American JETs in Japan and JET alumni in the United States.
Founding of USJETAA
In 2013, the United States-Japan Bridging Foundation formally introduced a new initiative in support of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme Alumni Associations (JETAA) entitled, “Strengthening the JETAA Network and Connecting Next Generation Leaders.” Funded by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP), the purpose of the project was to build infrastructure in support of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program Alumni Association, United States of America (JETAA USA) and enhance its impact promoting U.S.-Japan relations.
As an all-volunteer organization, JETAA USA represents the 19 JETAA chapters in the United States through three Country Representatives, who are elected by the JETAA chapters every year. The Country Representatives help coordinate activities, disseminate information, and act as the collective voice of the alumni. However, being volunteers with little funding and constraints on their time, they are limited in the services they can provide.
Recognizing the important role that alumni increasingly play in U.S.-Japan relations, the USJBF initiative explored the creation of an umbrella nonprofit to support JET alumni and JETAA chapters, allowing them to better leverage the talents and energies of JET alumni to further the U.S.-Japan relationship, promote the JET Program, and strengthen the network of JET alumni in the United States.
This initiative was begun in 2012 by Ms. Paige Cottingham-Streater, Executive Director of the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation. She was later joined by Ms. Laurel Lukaszewski, who went on to become the founding Executive Director for USJETAA when it was formally established as a non-profit organization in 2015. The exploration and creation process was a collaborative effort with the JETAA USA Working Group, created for that purpose, and in consultation with other alumni and the JETAA chapters.
In January 2018, Ms. Bahia Simons-Lane joined USJETAA as Executive Director, and is advancing the work begun by Ms. Lukaszewski to grow the organization and strengthen its ability to fulfill its core mandates.
For more information, please visit the USJETAA website at: https://usjetaa.org/