The Tokyo area’s only Canadian international school celebrated its 20th anniversary recently, with a day of events that included a performance by renowned composer and musician Celia Dunkelman and a keynote speech by Takashi Inoguchi, president of the University of Niigata Prefecture and Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo. Ms. Dunkelman is an established 15-string koto player who has recorded four albums and published two books. She is also an active humanitarian, and earlier this year she established the non-profit organization Celia Circle to support children in need. Other special guests at the ceremony included several local and national politicians, and representatives from the embassies of South Korea, Cameroon, the US, and Canada.

Columbia International School students

Columbia International School, based in Higashi-Tokorozawa, Saitama was founded in 1988 and caters to a wide and diverse range of students. The school offers students an education that is one-of-a-kind in Japan, and prepares them for enrollment in English language universities around the world, as well as for life as international people.

Second secretary of the Canadian embassy Mr. Etienne Lambert commented in a recent congratulatory address, “Columbia is the only school in Japan to offer the province of Ontario school curriculum—recipients can apply to colleges and universities in all Canadian provinces, as well as in other countries around the world.” Mr. Lambert went on to say, “I want to applaud the contribution Columbia International School has made. You have our gratitude for your dedication to strengthening relations between our two countries and we hope to continue working with you in the coming years. I wish to congratulate you on this milestone.”

Columbia International School expressed thanks and recognition to all the schools that came together to partake in this memorable day of events.

Columbia International School students

Outside of the twentieth anniversary celebrations, staff from Columbia recently raised much needed funds for Oxfam by completing a grueling 100km trek across Western Japan. David and Naomi Berry, Aaron Paulson, and Ryan Goldie struggled toward their goal of Mt. Fuji, competing alongside 200 other teams. The Columbia team raised an impressive ¥150,000 during their trail walk. Three out of four of the trail walker teams completed the 100km course in a tiring 45 hours and 10 minutes.

These youngsters are surely a great inspiration and model for all students at Columbia, who look forward to another twenty successful years in Japan. For more information and photographs of the Oxfam trail walk please visit