Sarajean will draw upon her civil society experience by sharing case studies from her work in Japan and neighbouring nations that represent her commitment to inter-sector collaboration and experiential education that transform individuals’ perceptions of the self, others and the world while simultaneously transferring knowledge and skills. Through stories of collaborative learning from university students, corporate leaders and grassroots organisation leaders, Sarajean will highlight specific cases of learning programs that represent her commitment to empowering people to take initiative, and developing future leaders to come up with new solutions. She will also share challenges, ideas about future directions and questions for the conference participants to consider moving forward.
Except for brief stints in the theatre and fashion industries, Sarajean has worked with nonprofit NGOs in Japan and the United States her entire career. She develops projects and training programmes aimed at developing skills, knowledge and effective partnerships between organisations and across borders. Sarajean has coordinated programs targeting experts in community health, humanitarian response, persons with disabilities, and HIV/AIDS. She has assisted corporations develop community engagement, CSR and philanthropy programs. At Temple University, Tsuda International Training Center, Japan Campus, Meiji Gakuin and Sophia Universities she has taught courses on Japanese civil society, NGOs in a cross cultural context, NGO management, the SDGs, Gender perspectives on the SDGs and Understanding Current Issues through Theater for people from a wide array of backgrounds. Sarajean has served as the Tokyo representative for international organisations such as the San Francisco-based Give2Asia Foundation for whom she worked with close to 50 organisations through managing their Tohoku Recovery Fund 2011-2014.
Sarajean has served on the Board of Directors and Councilors for a number of organisations including FEW, For Empowering Women Japan, Mirai no Mori, the Asian Rural Institute, and A Place to Grow and helped found the Japan Alliance of Conflict Mediators.
Before 2005, when she began working as an independent consultant, Sarajean spent four years coordinating the bilateral exchange of nonprofit professionals between the United States and Japan for Japan-US Community Education & Exchange (JUCEE). She worked for six years with the Tokyo YMCA before completing her graduate studies in human rights in East Asia at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. She also holds certificates in Disaster Management (UNU Tokyo), Humanitarian Response (Harvard online program) and Conflict Mediation (Hitotsubashi University / NY Peace Institute).