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Alumni Training, 2009

Highlights of the Japanese Development Experience: Lessons for JJ/WBGSP Alumni

The JJ/WBGSP Scaling-Up Program delivered a one-week training course in Japan for selected alumni of the JJ/WBGSP. The course took place in Tokyo and in Kyoto, during October 26-31, 2009. The objective of the course was to provide participants with an opportunity to learn Japan’s development experience and to draw lessons that are relevant for development of their own countries. The course was organized by the World Bank Institute (WBI) in cooperation with Ritsumeikan University.

Participants of the Training Course and Commitment

The course targeted recent JJ/WBGSP alumni, who have never studied or received training in Japan, and also returned to his/her home country after their completion of Masters Degree. For the course to be most effective, it was limited to a relatively small group of participants. Through a competitive process, 14 participants representing 13 countries were selected to participate in the course. The participants committed to submitting  

Sitting from left to right: Professor Masahisa Koyama of Ritsumeikan University, Mr. Toru Shikibu, the Executive Director of Japan to the World Bank, Ms. Danielle Carbonneau, Scholarship Administrator, Mr. Tsutomu Shibata, Consultant to the Scholarship Program 

a report upon completing the course, and also to establish or strengthen JJ/WBGSP alumni network in their home countries in cooperation with Ritsumeikan University.

Course Contents

This one-week training course consisted of a variety of lectures, meetings with Government officials, company visits, and networking sessions.

The subject included:

Left to right: Janice Monica Bollers, MSc in Environmental Forestry at University of Wales, Bangor, United Kingdom; Modou Touray, Master in Economic Policy Management at University of Ghana, Ghana and Mariama Khan, Master in Sustainable International Development at Brandeis University, United States
  • Global Financial Crisis and Japan
  • Japanese Business Development – Past and Future
  • Japan’s Oficial Development Assistance (ODA) – New JICA in Gobal Cooperation
  • Corporate Management System in Japan
  • Japan as a Knowledge Economy
  • New Ventures, Entrepreneurs and the Prospects of Business Incubation
  • Highlights of Japan’s Development Experience and Lessons for Developing Economies
  • Global Warming Counter-Measures in Kyoto City
  • Company Visits to Panasonic Co. Ltd and Omron Co. Ltd.
In the center: Matthew Sandy, Master in Economic Policy Management at Columbia University, United States

To learn more about japanese experience the Joint Japan-World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program alumni visited Omron company.

Detailed course agenda is available.

Building Networks

Alumni had many opportunities to get to know each other and establish relationships that will continue after they return to their countries.


  Left to right: Altynai K.  Aidarova, Master in Development Economics at Williams College, United States; Brigitt B. Bencich Aguilar, M.P.A in Public Administration in International Development, Harvard University, United States; Otar Nadaraia, Master in Development Economics at Williams College, United States and Ronald E. Gomez Suarez, MSc in Economics at Tilburg University, Netherlands

JJ/WBGSP Training in Japan. Ms. Myrna Valcarcel Sampayo, Master in Public Policy and Taxation at Yokohama National University, Japan

The group also had an interactive discussion session with the current JJ/WBGSP scholars who are studying at universities in Japan. Each of the current scholars presented their research topics and received feedback and suggestions from the alumni.

There were also a useful transfer of knowledge from the alumni who talked about their post-scholarship experience and how their newly acquired academic knowledge and skills allowed them to make better contribution to the development of their countries.

At the welcome reception, guests were invited from the Government of Japan, JJ/WBGSP’s partnership universities, and also from the Embassies of participants’ nationals. These face-to-face opportunities allowed informal network of stakeholders of the JJ/WBGSP and beyond. 

Learning Lessons from Japan’s Experience

In the wrap-up session on the final day of the course, each participant gave a short presentation on what they gained during the course and how it would be relevant to development of their countries. After their return home, they submitted a completion report with reflections of their experience in Japan.


 Mr. Pashupati Nath Koirala, MSc in Forest and Nature Conservation at Wageningen University, Netherlands

Below are some excerpts from these personal reflections.

Brigitte Bencich, Peru Public Administration in International Development, Harvard University

I consider that most of the objectives and expectations I had before participating in the course had been met. I had the opportunity to share and learn from Japan development strategies, not only the economic strategies but also cultural experiences. Proficient professional and practitioners from the Government, the World Bank, and universities presented in their lectures the different strategies that have been implemented in Japan since the after the war. Furthermore, I established networks with other participants, current scholars studying in Japan, and people from different institutions that we met during the course. This is the best way to share knowledge and expand this frontier, building a community of practice in the medium term. This could contribute to create synergies between these actors and to share important experiences.

Ronald Gomez, Colombia Economics and Finance of Ageing, Tilburg University, the Netherlands

Japan's success has relied heavily on its social framework and its values. I personally do not believe in applying exactly the same formula to our countries, since we are basically different from Japan. However, when it comes to mid-term goals, this country gives us a great deal of experience on the pay-off from policies focused in both quantitative and qualitative advances in education, prevision and innovation. The Japanese experience of development offers many lessons that are useful for countries in the path of development. I came back to my country with a wider view on what are the policies that render more fruits in terms of development and this, for me, is the main value of the training I had the opportunity to take.

Ozge Ileri Kabakci, Turkey Public Administration, San Francisco State University

I learned a lot from Japanese development experience. In this context, the course provided me with great merit to conduct my work in a more efficient manner. Japan followed an incredibly successful development path in post-war era and exemplified the best development practices for other inspiring countries like Turkey. Japan’s key focus on fostering effective yet socially responsible corporate management, incubation of SMEs and implementing result-driven R&D policies should set the tone for other countries like Turkey

And I believe that the experience I acquired through the course will help me to apply these guiding principles in my daily work when I lead development projects negotiations, conduct financial analysis and interact with my domestic and international counterparts. Consequently, I hope to (i) apply the insights I acquired through those lectures in framing Turkey’s development policies, (ii) apply the practices in my daily work at Turkish Treasury and, (iii) ultimately, make a meaningful contribution through my newly acquired skills at the course.

Lotay Rinchen, Bhutan Sustainable International Development, Brandeis University

The JJ/WBGSP Alumni training program in Japan was very useful and it indeed fulfilled my expectations. I intended to learn about Japan’s development story and how the JJ/WBGSP scholars/alumni were applying the knowledge learnt from their graduate studies in their respective home countries. While I have read and heard about Japan’s hardship and success stories, it was an eye opener to see in person and meet the prominent players that shaped Japan’s development. Visiting companies like Matsushita, Omron and the like was very inspiring. The visit to places of historical importance gave me a strong sense of Japan’s identity and rich culture. While all lectures were enjoyable, the lectures on the ‘knowledge economy’, Japan & global financial crisis, Japan’s post-war development, and Kyoto Prefecture’s response to global warming were particularly enlightening. In the course of the training program, I learnt about what each of the program participants are doing back in their home countries and that was helpful to exchange ideas and build relationship to foster understanding and good-will.

Erica Reeves Williams, Liberia Economic Policy Management, University of Ghana

My perception is that this training course, which aimed at providing participants a thorough exposure to recent economic policy issues, will enhance our understanding of the policy writing and improve our capacity for sound critical and analytical thinking as it relates to development economics. I strongly believed that it would have in my own setting helped to promote a wide range of policies, guidelines and procedures that guarantee a safe and sound financial system. I expected this course to have also enlightened the minds of the fellow participants so that upon return to our home Countries, society and our work areas would gain some knowledge through information sharing. There was also a strong conviction that this course was formulated to encourage formers scholars of the JJ/WBGSP to be steadfast in our endeavors as we strive to bring about growth in our home Countries. Lastly, I felt it would have built up a network between former scholars of the JJ/WBGSP around the world who partook in the course as a means of knowledge sharing. 

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