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SDGs Global Leader


1. Background / outline

Until now, JICA has provided training programs as a part of technical cooperation in various fields. In order to strengthen a network among the target countries in respective fields, JICA established a new long-term training program, called "SDGs Global Leader" to foster young/middle bureaucrats, academicians and leading human resources in various fields of target countries who will make influence on policy making processes of their countries or will contribute to socioeconomic development in near future.

Applicants may select the university, to which he/she wishes to apply, from the universities, which have concluded an agreement on accepting JICA participants on the condition that the candidate passes the entrance examination.

Proposed research topics will be the one that contribute to the Government policy for the sustainable development such as administration/public policy, finance, international politics, regional research, business, international trade/investment, disaster risk reduction, maritime issues and so on.

In addition to the programs in the master's and Ph.D. courses, the activities such as short-term program to learn the Japanese Development Experience, networking seminar, and/or internship program will be planned in order to enrich the participants' academic and personal experience of their courses of studies at the universities.

2. Objectives

1. To develop high level human resources who would contribute to appropriate policy decision and its implementation for tackling political and developmental issues in respective fields.

2. To establish and maintain mid and long term good relations between the target countries and Japan.

3. Target Participants

Applicants must satisfy the following requirements:

Current Duties:
Young or middle Government official, prospective academics, personnel who are expected to contribute policy formulation and/or implementation for tackling sustainable developmental issues to mainly in the fields of public policy / administration and economics.
Citizen of the following target countries
Less than forty (40) years old in principle
Educational Background:
Have a Bachelor Degree or Master Degree
Adequate English skills both in written and oral communication to complete the master's and/or Ph.D. courses.
Applicants must not be receiving nor planning to receive another scholarship during the program.

Target countries

Southeast Asia Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia Myanmar, Philippine, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam
Pacific Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu
South Asia Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
East and Central Asia Mongolia, Tajikistan, Georgia
Latin America and the Caribbean* Jamaica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, Dominica, Guatemala, Cuba, Belize, Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Brazil, Paraguay
Middle East / Europe Iran, Serbia, North Macedonia
Africa 49 countries (Sub-Saharan Africa)

*Target countries for Latin America and the Caribbean vary depending on each fiscal year.

For more information, please contact the JICA overseas office in your country.

4. Number of Participants / Duration

JFY2019: 56 participants (Master's Program: 43, PhD Program: 13)
In principle, 2 years for Master's Program and 3 years for Ph.D. Program (It depends on each program offered by universities)

5. Expenses to be borne by JICA

Under the JICA Long-term Trainee Allowance standards, JICA will cover expenses and allowance to participants accepted for the program. A payment amount of the living allowance will be calculated in accordance with the Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship standards. The grant which support your research, such as purchase of books or necessary equipment, participation fees for academic conference, research trips, etc. can be also provided by JICA. Note that the payments (e.g. for tuition, research support expenses, school support expenses) will not be paid to the training participants themselves, but directly to the university or other relevant institutions.

6.Application schedule (TBA) Application for JFY2020 has been closed in November 2019.

Applicants are nominated by each country's government, and then approved by JICA. After this procedure, screening will be conducted at the proposed universities. Applicants must pass University's regular admission procedures including examinations to enter the program.

October Application information are distributed from the government / institute.
November Application deadline to JICA
First Screening at JICA Overseas office
December Pre-screening by universities
January Results notification of the pre-screening
February-April Official application to each university
June Results notification of the official application
→Notification of Final results for the scholarship
July Preparation for departure
August Pre-orientation at JICA Overseas office
September Departure

Message from current students

Dechen Tshomo


Name (Country) :
Dechen Tshomo (Bhutan)
Research topic:
Government to Citizen (G2C) Initiatives of Bhutan: A Study on the Effectiveness of G2C in Rural Areas
Graduate School:
Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba
Message for prospective applicants:
Academic progression is nothing like I ever imagined it to be - it is so much better. It started to do wonders and transform me into a new person, the time I started walking in the class of graduate studies.
Receiving SDGs Global Leaders Program scholarship and receiving my admission in the university came at a right time for me and I count myself as blessed. The combination of these two work wonders as I get to study in one of the best universities with the generous support from the SDG Global Leaders Program. I aspire to be able to contribute towards realizing the goal of achieving socio-economic development of my country after the program.
I strongly encourage every perspective students to apply for the SDGs Global Leaders Program to gain much deeper insights into the world of academia. I believe that, progressing in one's academia is a step closer to achieving socio-economic development of a county.
Last but, not the least – while pursuing a graduate studies as a scholarship recipients, we not only get to learn but there will also be times to lament and times to be joyful, but most of all, we learn to mourn with others and be joyful with others. We grow!

Peouv Polinel


Name (Country/Organization):
Peouv Polinel (Cambodia/State Secretariat of Civil Aviation)
Research topic:
Bilateral Air Service Liberalization and Its Implications on Air Passenger Traffic Flows and Airline Competition: Evidence from ASEAN Countries
Graduate School:
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)
Message for prospective applicants:
People are always tempted to preserve the status quo or comfort zone. This is and will always be a part of human life. However, the success or failure and the progress of people is determined by whether they can resist to such temptation. I call my decision to pursue Ph.D. studies here in Japan "a journey to be out of comfort zone". Back in my country, I am serving as an under-secretary of state of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, an institution whose main mandate is to regulate air transport industry in Cambodia. The logical reasoning behind my decision is very simple. If you want to be a great political leader in your country, investment in your capacity is the key. Since their main responsibility is to make people life safe, secured and prosperous through the policy intervention they choose, leaders in public sector have to have clear and deep understanding of the evidence-based policy making process especially policy or impact evaluation. This program has given me far beyond my expectation. During my study at GRIPS, I have learned tremendously both through my exposure to famous speakers at seminars and conferences and well qualified professors. Just to give an example, I am really struck by the seriousness in which the faculty members approach the research and lecture on how to transform data into information and information into knowledge. Understanding of this process, I think, is one of the critical factors in guaranteeing the success of public policy makers.

Carol Rovo


Name (Country/Organization):
Carol Rovo (Vanuatu/Ministry of Health)
Research topic:
Performance-Informed Budgeting Process for Vanuatu Ministry of Health using Multiple Streams Agenda and Punctuated Equilibrium Frameworks.
Graduate School:
Graduate School of International Relations
Message for prospective applicants:
Japan is a safe place to study. Japanese people are respectful, obedient and kind. Studying in Japan will give you an opportunity to learn and experience Japanese unique cultural values and lifestyle compared to your home country. You will have the chance to meet new people of different cultural backgrounds from different countries around the world. The rich diverse culture will make your learning experience in Japan more effective and beneficial to your future career as a leader for your own country. Lastly, while in Japan, enjoy as much as you can because, the confidence you build through learning new ideas and skills together with new people and the experience gained, will be of great value to your future work in each organization.



Name (Country/Organization):
Steven MUGENYI (Rwanda / Ministry of Public Service and Labor)
Research topic in Japan:
Economic Growth through Informal Employment in Rwanda.
Message for prospective applicants:
"Poverty is not just a lack of money''. Says Nobel Prize-winning economist A.K.Sen. The potential of eradicating poverty is to understand suitable approach to economic development which puts particular emphasis on education of the people. Japan has developed a quality system of education that fulfills human potential. Being a scholar in Japanese schools is much beyond acquiring formal schooling skills, but exposes you much to Japanese best practice like understanding the Japanese development experience, human networking with the people of different origins and informal learning also takes place within social groups as people interact with each other to improve their environment.

Sheena Samantha Suckoo


Name (Country/Organization):
Sheena Samantha Suckoo (Jamaica/Ministry of Education)
Research topic:
Utilizing Inquiry-Based Learning Instruction as a pedagogy to improve Critical Thinking and Problem Solving in Mathematics in Jamaica
Graduate School:
Naruto University of Education
Message for prospective applicants:
It is truly an honour to be a recipient of the JICA SDGs Global Leader Program, at the Naruto University of Education, I am enthused about developing my academic skills so I can provide support in my field of work. I encourage prospective applicants to work hard and have confidence in themselves as well as their field of work. JICA is very supportive of development and the experience offered is so wonderful. I also welcome you to our global community as we explore Japan's beautiful and unique culture together and establish friendship.

Mejia Ramos Francisco Antonio


Name (Country/Organization):
Mejia Ramos Francisco Antonio (El Salvador/ Ministry of Education)
Research topic:
Effectiveness of formative assessment and summative evaluation based on ESMATE textbook to improve math learning achievement and outcomes of students from primary and secondary school in El Salvador
Graduate School:
Naruto University of Education
Message for prospective applicants:
Living and studying in Japan is outstanding. Here you can improve not just your academic training as a student (what is amazing itself), but you can enhance many other skills, like learning languages, learning about Japanese culture, practice sports, knowledge about other different countries and especially lifestyle. Japanese lifestyle is interesting and of course, being careful with culture shock, this is a great opportunity to improve personal habits. Japanese lifestyle, in general, is very correct and peaceful if someone is worried about how difficult it could be to adapt here (because of differences between cultures), just keep calm and "follow the rules", with this suggestion, I know you will enjoy your time in Japan. I really hope to see you at least once during our time here. My best regards.

Sandro Abuladze


Name (Country/Organization):
Sandro Abuladze (Georgia/Ministry of Finance)
Research topic:
Exchange Rate Volatility Forecasting for Developing Countries
Graduate School:
Graduate School of Economics, Waseda University
Message for prospective applicants:
"SDGs Global Leader" program is a great initiative from Japanese International Cooperation Agency, which will not only allow the candidates to deepen their knowledge in a desired field, but it will also contribute to the socioeconomic development of the participants' country. This program lays ground for the better future of the developing countries and strengthens the intercultural/socio-economic relations between Japan and the selected countries.