Please join us in congratulating Yoko Noge-Dean, Chair of the Osaka Committee of CSCI for being selected as the 2014 Chicago Sister Cities International Volunteer of the Year. Yoko was selected for showing leadership, talent, passion, enthusiasm and tenacity in promoting the work of CSCI locally and abroad.
Yoko was selected by the Advisory Board of CSCI from a group of volunteer-submitted nominees to receive the inaugural, annual CSCI Volunteer of the Year Award. The award recognizes a CSCI volunteer committee member who has played an important role in furthering CSCI’s mission to promote Chicago as a global city, develop international partnerships and networks, and share best practices through citizen-to-citizen connections, particularly in the areas of business, culture, education, immigration and tourism.
Yoko’s work throughout 2014 and since her time as a volunteer with CSCI makes her a worthy recipient of the award. She has organized three annual Kizuna photo exhibits commemorating the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, with related programming; organized and secured sponsorship for the 40th Anniversary of the sister cities relationship between Chicago and Osaka; organized a full agenda of activities during the visit of the Vice Mayor of Osaka; organized an Osaka cheering station each year for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon; and launched a successful social services exchange between Osaka and Chicago. She balances her role as Chair of the Osaka Committee of CSCI with her job at the Nikkei newspaper and her work as a renowned jazz and blues musician, which she also uses as an opportunity for cultural exchange. She was honored by the Government of Japan with the Foreign Minister’s Commendation for 2014, given by Japan Foreign Minister, Fumio Kishida. She received the commendation for her work in promoting mutual understanding between Japan and the US.
The Volunteer of the Year Award will be presented at the annual Chicago Consular Corps Gala: A Tribute to Our Global Partners, hosted by CSCI and World Business Chicago, on Monday, December 1, 2014.