The former chair, Masaoki Hoshino, retired on May 31, 2022, and the new chair, Toshimasa Yamamoto, assumed office on June 1, 2022.
My name is Toshimasa Yamamoto and I am pleased to have become the new chairperson for the ARI Board of Directors. I look forward to working with you.
My first encounter with Asia outside of Japan was when I stayed for a year in Indonesia during my college days in 1972 as a participant on the International Christian Youth Exchange program. After returning to Japan, I visited ARI every year with my church and as a YMCA work camp member. ARI became a place where I could hear the “voice of Asia,” smell the “smells of Asia,” and taste the “food of Asia.” This unique experience, which taught me the importance of “living with Asia,” has continued for more than 40 years until today.
We will soon celebrate our 50th anniversary at ARI. Our most distinctive feature is that ARI is almost 100% self-sufficient in food production through organic farming.
As a vocational school for training rural leaders from developing countries, ARI has welcomed about 30 participants every year, regardless of their religious background, and has produced over 1500 graduates from 61 countries.
The various practices and diverse stories of our graduates are the treasures of our 50 years.
ARI’s motto, “That We May Live Together,” has contributed to building just and peaceful societies through our graduates in many parts of the world.
We are not only a place to acquire agricultural knowledge and skills but also a valuable school that provides “knowledge” and “experience” for living together.
ARI is a community where we encourage reflection on how we live our lives.
In assuming the new position as chairperson, I hope to carry on the will of my predecessor, Rev. Hoshino.
I will do my utmost to enhance the training programs further and strengthen the organization’s financial base. I want to ask for your support and prayers.
Biography of Toshimasa Yamamoto
He has served as a professor, chaplain at the School of Commerce and Dean of Chaplains at Kwansei Gakuin University.
He also served as the General Secretary of the National Christian Council in Japan(NCC – J).
He is currently the senior pastor of Logos Church of the United Church of Christ in Japan and serve as a Board of Director of the Japan Committee of the World Conference on Religions and Peace. His publications include “History of the Ecumenical Movement in Asian” (Shinkyo Publishing Co., Ltd.)