Class XII (2014-2015)

8. Yoko Takazawa

Sponsor Club: Tokyo Shinagawa Chuo, Japan District 2750

Host Club: Ashgrove/The Gap, District 9600

Originally from Tokyo, Japan, Yoko graduated from Sophia University in Tokyo with a BA degree in Sociology. Yoko first worked at an International NGO in Japan and was dispatched to Ache, Indonesia, where she was influenced by the independence movement, to implement an emergency correspondence project for the Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami victims in 2005. She then moved to East Timor in order to work for an income generation project for vulnerable coffee farmers until she was forced to evacuate due to the internal conflict in 2006. This incident was the trigger for her interest in the field of peace and conflict resolution. She started her work as a development consultant in 2009. Her first work in consultancy was participating in a project to dismantle retired nuclear submarines in the Russian Federation funded by the Government of Japan aiming to prevent proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). Subsequently, she was assigned to a community mediation project in Nepal to build a peaceful and harmonious society through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms. This project was developed in cooperation with the Government of Nepal and funded by the Government of Japan.

Yoko conducted her AFE at The Partnerships Group/Japan Unit, The Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York, USA from December 2014 to February 2015. This experience equipped her with new perspectives from the upstream of multi-lateral aid towards international cooperation, an aspect which she had not had previous exposure to in her previous career.

With the newly acquired academic knowledge and experiences lived in this program, Yoko wishes to become a highly skilled peace-building/conflict resolution specialist. She intends to maximize her impact by utilizing available resources in order to respond to the specific needs of the localities and beneficiaries in a fragile local context thanks to her ability to analyze complex and interrelated factors.