What is High School Diplomats?
High School Diplomats (HSD) is a scholarship program that brings together high school students from the United States and Japan each summer through two parallel experiences. With HSD U.S. American students travel to Princeton University where they participate in ten days of cultural exchange alongside a Japanese roommate. With HSD Japan American students who complete the Princeton program travel to Japan for a month the following summer. Each participant in the program is given a generous scholarship that pays for room, board, activity and most program transportation costs.
HSD is sponsored by AIG and the Freeman Foundation, and is in affiliation with the National Association of Japan-America Societies (NAJAS). All three groups believe that fostering a global appreciation in high school students not only benefits the participants but helps to build a foundation of cross-cultural understanding for the future.
The goals of both HSD U.S. and HSD Japan are to spread international understanding among Japanese and American high school students through a rich program of academic, cultural, and social activities. In addition, HSD hopes to foster the creation of meaningful and lasting friendships.
In 1987 AIU Insurance Company of Tokyo (now AIG Japan) began sponsoring HSD U.S. with the intent of bringing American and Japanese students closer together. The program started small and steadily grew year by year. In 1994, AIG and the Freeman Foundation decided to create the HSD Japan Program to give American students a chance to experience Japanese culture firsthand.
The HSD Philosophy
Rather than bring together people with similar backgrounds, interests, or hobbies, HSD strives to encourage students to discover, connect, and develop relationships with people from diverse backgrounds. Participants study, dine, socialize and share every aspect of their day-to-day lives alongside students from half a world away. More than 2000 high school students have participated in HSD since its founding, creating a network of friendships that spans the globe.