Redesigning Japanese Higher Education


    July 8-17⎜Seto Inland Sea Island of Ōsakikamijima ⎜ Japan



    An official College of the Atlantic Program delivered in partnership

    ASHOKA Japan // ASHOKA U // Town of Ōsakikamijima // DSIL Global



    We’re recruiting the next generation of changemakers ready to tackle the world's complex challenges- and we launched the HELIO PROGRAM to take things to the next level. This summer we were in Ōsakikamijima, Japan with College of the Atlantic.


    When | Where | Who

    From July 8-17th participants explored the Seto Inland Sea of Japan for a powerful week focused on the dynamics of Human Ecology and filled with cutting edge workshops, trainings and hands-on local community immersions with participants from the global Ashoka U network and delivered in partnership by Ashoka Japan, the Town of Ōsakikamijima and Designing for Social Innovation and Leadership (DSIL).


    Education | Ecology | Focus

    Participants came to help launch the next era in Japanese higher education by co-designing a new Japanese 'college'. The college will draw inspiration from the College of the Atlantic and Ashoka, both of whom have been educating and supporting social innovators for decades. Interdisciplinary practices and perspectives were leveraged to design the institutional, curricular, and partnership foundations for a new kind of higher educational institution - one that will help Japan prosper in a world that links the local with the global.


    The HELIO Program - offered through the College of the Atlantic- was intentionally crafted to include 24 top change agents from around the world, selected through the Ashoka University network—those active in creating social impact leaders.


    Participants were rising 2nd, 3rd or 4th year university students with high empathetic aptitude, motivation and intellectual curiosity.

  • What Happened at HELIO in 9 Days?

    Participants cultivated skills that accelerate their ability to bring social impact ideas to life by exploring the environmental, economic, social and educational contours of Osakimijima, Japan.


    During the field experience participants worked in cross cultural teams to co-design and develop ideas connected to re-imagining the future of global and local education and ecological systems. Field participants also had the option to continue learning in the 2016 DSIL Virtual Classroom and qualify for a certificate granted by the CEE at the UN University for Peace and Conflict Studies.


    Sharpen transferable skills that matter

    Within the span of 9 field immersion days participants were trained on the principals of Human-Centered Design, innovation, facilitation, and project design. The week culminated with a with a final 'pitch' in teams that could be implemented in the real world.


    Share experience,  passion and stories

    Participants were considered both students and teachers across the week- they had the opportunity to speak at 'Stories Night', share aspects of their home culture and skills during 'Pop Up Workshops'. Visits out included exploring one of the oldest Zen Temples in Japan and trips to the shore.


    Get to know the grassroots

    Participants discovered first hand various Seto Inland Sea development challenges while investigating sustainable development opportunities on the ground. Contextual Understanding was expedited by interactions with partners from the local community, academia, and social impact leaders.


    Dig deep into systems of 'self' and the world

    Mornings opened with a daily practice of intention setting, and intentional community building emerged through out the week. Participants had moments dedicated to reflection and the chance to re-imagine the complexities of the world by reframing challenge as opportunity.

  • Official Program Sponsor

    HELIO is an initiative of College of the Atlantic

  • Curious? Have Ideas or Questions?

    Let Us Know!