Aramco scholarship promotes Arabic learning in Japan

Muhannad A. Yousef (center, back), poses with three scholarship winners: Aoi Yagishita, Yuki Nakajima, and Nairo Shinohara (center, front), their parents, and school officials for a group photo following the ceremony.

Aramco Asia Japan (AAJ) continued its contribution to the Corporate Social Responsibility Program through awarding the Aramco Scholarship to three graduates in Kanagawa Prefectural Yokohama Senior High School of International Studies (YIS) in Japan.

AAJ identified the school in 2010 and continued the scholarship program for eight years. The annual award is a merits-based academic initiative to promote education of the Arabic language, in appreciation of the first public high school in Japan to have an Arabic language course.

Muhannad A. Yousef, AAJ deputy managing director (Quality Management Division), presented the award to this year’s winners — Aoi Yagishita, Yuki Nakajima, and Nairo Shinohara. “We hope that this program continues to take a role as a bridge between two nations that connects culture, business and friendship,” said Yousef.

In return, one of the winners this year, Yuki Nakajima, said in Arabic that she would like to welcome visitors from the Arab world to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games as a volunteer.

Arabic connection since 2010

Since 2010, YIS principal Kyoko Sakurada has witnessed the development and continuation of the Aramco Scholarship Project. The scholarship offers an opportunity that focuses on the improvement of local education programs and the exploration of the Arabic language and culture among Japanese high school students. So far, a total of 24 students have benefited from it.

AAJ began close corporate social responsibility cooperation with YIS in 2010. Concrete actions have also been taken by the school to establish a YIS Saudi Aramco Friendship Association that oversees the running of the scholarship through 2023.

In a follow-up report by Amina Tomioka, one of last year’s winners who currently is majoring in the study of Middle East and International Cooperation at Sophia University in Tokyo, she wrote that she keeps brushing up on her Arabic and actively works on the refugee issues in conflict regions around the world.