FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D. C. (January 12th, 2018) – Today, the US Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme Alumni Association (USJETAA) announced the appointment of Ms. Bahia Simons-Lane as its new Executive Director. She succeeds Founding Executive Director Laurel Lukaszewski.
Ms. Simons-Lane brings to the position years of experience in international education and leadership in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program Alumni Association (JETAA). JETAA is comprised of 19 chapters across the United States and supports the US-Japan relationship. As president of Florida JETAA for five and half years, Bahia developed a plan addressing the unique needs of the Florida chapter and implemented changes to better serve the community and improve ties with the Japanese consulate in Miami. In this capacity, Ms. Simons-Lane gained a deep understanding of the important role JET alumni play at the grassroots level to strengthen the U.S.-Japan relationship and the challenges the 19 chapters face to engage them.
Ms. Simons-Lane also brings firsthand experience of life in Japan as a JET Programme participant. She lived in Gunma Prefecture for three years, teaching as a JET assistant language teacher (ALT) for two years and then working for the compulsory education division of the prefectural board of education as the ALT advisor for one year.
As Executive Director, Ms. Simons-Lane will develop USJETAA’s comprehensive strategic plan, which includes fundraising, communications, strategic partnerships, and support for JET alumni. In this role she will leverage the talent and enthusiasm of the JET alumni community to advance the U.S.-Japan relationship.
“We are delighted that Bahia is joining USJETAA as our new Executive Director,” said Paige Cottingham-Streater, Chair of the USJETAA Board of Directors. “Her experience with the JET Program and JET alumni chapter leadership, and strong background in international education and marketing are assets to the organization. We’re looking forward to Bahia’s leadership in engaging the more than 30,000 U.S. JET alumni and enhancing the sustainability of USJETAA.”
“My many years of service to the JET Programme Alumni Association as president of Florida JETAA were a labor of love,” said Ms. Simons-Lane. “They showed me the impact of JET alumni in U.S.-Japan relations. JET alumni across the U.S. work in diverse fields, from engineering to the arts, but many contribute to good international relations and hold Japan-related positions. As Executive Director, I will ensure that USJETAA continues to realize its mission of supporting JET alumni and connecting them with the Japanese community.”
Since 2010, Ms. Simons-Lane has been studying and working on international and intercultural education, developing communication and research skills. She earned her Master’s degree in International and Intercultural Education from Florida International University (FIU) in 2014. She is currently earning her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Language, Literacy, and Culture, also at FIU. She is completing her dissertation on the global perspective of FIU undergraduates who participate in the global learning medallion program.
USJETAA was established in 2016 as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization to support the network of JET alumni and JETAA chapters in the U.S. and their many activities connecting the U.S. and Japan. There are 19 individual chapters across the country offering programs and events for alumni, their families and their communities.
The mission of the United States JETAA (USJETAA) is to provide support and resources to Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) alumni chapters and individual JET alumni throughout the United States in order to strengthen the capacity of the JETAA network, enabling alumni to contribute to the greater U.S.-Japan relationship and ‘bring Japan home’ by fostering education and understanding of Japanese culture in the United States.
Over 30,000 American college graduates are alumni of the JET Programme. Since its inception in 1987, JETs have lived and worked in every prefecture throughout Japan, teaching English and promoting mutual understanding and friendship between the U.S. and their host communities. When they return to their home countries, JET alumni work in fields as diverse as journalism, the arts, education, international affairs, engineering and business.