Pohnpeian civil engineer preparing for study in Hokkaido, Japan under Pacific LEADS program

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By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
July 21, 2017
FSM—Dayn Iehsi has never been to Japan but that is certainly about to change. Under a commitment made by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the 7th Pacific Island Leaders Meeting, Dayn has been awarded a scholarship to Hokkaido University Graduate School. There he will study sustainable construction management.
Dayn graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois. For nearly two years he has worked in the office of the Project Management Unit at the FSM national government. It was his first job after college.
Last year, Alyssa Nakasone was awarded the LEADS scholarship and has been pursuing a Master’s Degree in Japan. Her Master’s degree will be in health with an emphasis on non-communicable diseases.
The Pacific LEADS program is specifically available for government officials and other key personnel who have the expertise necessary to solve the development challenges facing Pacific Island Countries and to further strengthen the relationship between the FSM and Japan. It was implemented as part of the Official Development assistance to the government of FSM based on bilateral agreement between both governments. Participants will study in English at Japanese Universities for a Master’s Degree within a period of 2 and half years.
Resident Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Shinji Shibata said that there were more scholarships available but that, though the opportunity to study for a Master’s Degree with all expenses paid is magnificent, it has been difficult to find applicants. The reason, he said, is because the study period is for two and a half years but governments within the FSM can only grant leave for study for a maximum period of one year. They cannot hold positions open for longer than that period of time. This means that applicants have to resign in order to take advantage of the study opportunity. It makes it difficult but graduates will come back to the FSM with more marketable skills to offer.
“I hope that you will promote this experience to the people of the FSM,” Shibata said. “There is only one year left in the program.”
Iehsi, who is 25 years old said that he has never travelled beyond Guam to the east and Illinois to the west. He will leave Pohnpei for Okinawa on August 15 where he will undergo a rigorous orientation. When that orientation is completed he will leave Okinawa for Hokkaido, Japan’s northern most island. It is the second largest and least developed island in Japan. It is known for its harsh winter weather with sub-zero temperatures so cold that the ocean frequently freezes. He said that he is psychologically preparing himself for that though, having studied in Illinois, he is no stranger to cold winters.
He said that he has been in email contact with Alyssa Nakasone who has been giving him information on Japan and encouraging him as he prepares for his two and a half year study experience.
He intends to come back to the FSM and offer his services again.