2013 Osaka, Japan Social Service Exchange Program

Categories: News,Osaka News


Chicago Sister Cities International (CSCI) is committed to promoting Chicago as a global city, developing international partnerships and networks, and sharing best practices on a city-to-city basis with its 28 sister cities, including Osaka, Japan, with whom we have shared a sister city relationship for 40 years. CSCI strives to develop and expand community, education and business partnerships between Chicago and its sister cities. Through long-term partnerships, CSCI creates opportunities for citizens and city officials to experience and explore other cultures.  Each year, the 28 committees execute a wide range of projects focused on economic development, culture, business, education, social services, the environment and healthcare.

The Osaka-Chicago Social Services Exchange was an initiative that began in 2008 with a focus on understanding the needs and supports for youth and families, persons with disabilities and older adults, and a goal of improving systems and service delivery to these vulnerable populations. The exchange convenes interdisciplinary professionals from both cities to build relationships, deepen cultural understanding and share best practices related to their varied work in human services. Chicago and Osaka have alternated hosting the exchange.

Our fourth exchange will take place from November 9 to 16, 2013. Ten interdisciplinary social service professionals will be selected from the metropolitan Chicago area to visit sites and dialogue with Japanese professionals about their culture and best practices in social services. The exchange will conclude with a one-day conference where delegates may have an opportunity to discuss and compare best practices between cultures. Chicago delegates will develop Individual Action Plans to result in concrete outcomes.

A 2010 exchange participant reported, “This was a once in a lifetime opportunity…I and my social service practice have been changed forever by this experience.”

The Osaka Social Services Exchange Subcommittee Mission

The Osaka Committee’s Social Service Exchange Subcommittee serves as a conduit for “cultural discourse”, a mutual sharing of professional social service knowledge, skills, and cultural experiences to enhance social services in our global community:

  • Develops sister-city multidisciplinary social service exchanges where future leaders, practitioners, administrators, supervisors, academics and others from different parts of the world come together.
  • Cultivates leadership within subcommittees to sustain and expand the exchanges.
  • Shares best practices and policy experiences to improve social services globally.
  • Educates and promotes international collaboration overcoming cultural divisions.
  • Develops ongoing projects which promote human potential and functioning.


  1. Social Service professional working in Chicagoland area (the delegation is interdisciplinary and may include direct service providers, nonprofit administrators, government workers, clinical practitioners, foundation staff/leadership, and university faculty/staff/students);
  2. Desire to integrate an international perspective in one’s social service practice;
  3. Commits to serve on the Subcommittee to sustain future exchanges;
  4. Will participate in group orientation and debrief after the exchange;
  5. Some knowledge of Japanese language/culture is preferred but not required;
  6. Due to long workdays, personal stamina is required.


Chicago delegates will be responsible for securing and paying for their individual round-trip airfare which will be approximately $1,600.  As host, Osaka will cover the majority of other costs including delegates’ lodging, most meals, and city transportation. Partial flight scholarships may be available. Evidence of need may be required.


Complete applications will be due via email no later than Thursday, August 15th at 5:00 p.m. Interviews will take place in late August with final delegate decisions made by early September. Orientation meetings will take place in October in preparation for the November exchange.


Application can be downloaded at this link. Please email completed applications to Heather Li, Manager of International Programs at Chicago Sister Cities International, at hli@chicagosistercities.com. For questions, please email Heather or contact her by phone at 312-201-4537.