US-Japan Foundation Honors Ambassador Tom Foley in Seattle
Seattle, Washington, October 27, 2005. The United States – Japan Foundation, observing its 25th Anniversary today in Seattle, gave its first Distinguished Service Award to former Ambassador Thomas S. Foley at a dinner at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.
The award recognizes distinguished service in the creation of friendship and understanding between the people of the United States and Japan.
In presenting the award, the Foundation’s Chairman, Thomas S. Johnson, noted that Foley’s interest in Japan goes back to 1969, and that he had been a key leader of the US-Japan Parliamentary Exchange Program that has brought together 136 Members of Congress and 132 Diet Members since 1971
Johnson cited Foley’s achievements as President Clinton’s Ambassador to Tokyo from 1997-2001, noting his critical role in negotiating new guidelines for security cooperation, resolving issues over US troops and bases, settling trade disputes, and strengthening the alliance.
“In addition to his keen understanding of economic issues in both the US and Japan, his practical understanding of the art of the possible in politics, his evident love of traveling throughout Japan and meeting a broad cross-section of Japanese people, and a well honed sense of humor that transcends cultural frontiers, made Tom Foley one of the most respected of all American ambassadors of his time,” Johnson said.
The US-Japan Foundation was founded in 1980 with a gift of $45 million from the late Mr. Ryoichi Sasakawa, Chairman of the Japan Shipbuilding Industry Foundation. Based in New York and with an office in Tokyo, the Foundation has made grants of more than $80 million in the fields of K-12 education, policy studies, communications and public opinion, and bringing young leaders from the two countries together.
It is the only private, independent American Foundation dedicated to the mutual interests of the Japanese and American people.
The Foundation’s Leadership Program has met in Seattle in alternate years since the program began in 2000. Twenty young leaders from each country gather here for a week in July or August to discuss critical issues in world affairs, to enjoy cruises on Lake Washington, a Mariners game, and a visit to Whidbey Island for a salmon bake and native American dancing. The leaders gather in Kobe or Kyoto and Tokyo in the other years. They remain connected thereafter on a dedicated Internet website. Nine of the 152 leaders in the program are from the Seattle area, including representatives of Boeing, Nintendo, the Gates Foundation, Weyerhaeuser, the Port Commission, and several law firms.
The Foundation’s bi-national Board of Trustees also recognized the achievements of its Seattle area grantees, including the Densho Project of Mr. Tom Ikeda, the John Stanford International School, Hamilton International Middle School, the Laurasian Institution, the University of Washington, the National Bureau of Asian Research, and two teachers, Ms. Patricia Burleson of Island View Elementary School and Ms. Leslie Birkland of Lake Washington High School for excellence in teaching about Japan.