Federal employees chosen for fellowship program in Japan

A handful of federal employees will spend the next year preparing to live in Japan to work in that country's government agencies as part of the Mike Mansfield Fellowship Program.

The program, named after the late Senate majority leader and ambassador to Japan, places federal employees inside the Japanese government for a year in an effort to improve Japanese-American relations. Seven federal employees were selected for the program this year and on Sept. 11 began their first year of intense language study and cultural training before leaving for their 12-month-long assignments at Japanese government ministries and agencies. They leave for Japan in September 2004.

"The ninth group of Mansfield Fellows brings to the fellowship program extensive experience with Japan, along with a wide range of professional expertise and a commitment to a strong U.S.-Japan relationship," said Gordon Flake, executive director of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, the nonprofit organization that runs the fellowship program in conjunction with the State Department and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

"During their two years in the Mansfield Fellowship Program, the fellows will learn Japanese, discover how their Japanese hosts address issues similar to those in their U.S. agencies, observe the internal dynamics in Japanese government offices, and build networks of contacts in Japan's government," Flake continued. "They will return to their agencies prepared to work on U.S.-Japan cooperative programs and activities."

Up to 10 applicants are chosen each year, and 60 fellows have participated in the program since its creation in 1994. Fellowship applicants must be U.S. citizens and current federal employees with at least two consecutive years of service at the time of application. The next application deadline for the fellowship is April 1, 2004. For more information on the exchange program, go to http://www.mcpa.org.

The seven fellows currently participating in the program are:

  • Carole C. Carey, Health and Human Services Department
  • Robert A. Letteney, Office of U.S. Rep. John Olver, D-Mass.
  • Steven P. Lewis-Workman, Transportation Department
  • Naveen C. Rao, Transportation Department
  • Sandra N. Sakihara, Agriculture Department
  • Jennifer F. Sklarew, Commerce Department
  • Christopher D. Winship, Treasury Department