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Nikkei Community Internship's 10th Anniversary!


NCI 2011 Alumni Dinner

Current NCI 2011 interns and 10 years of NCI alumni meet for a dinner get-together in Little Tokyo during Midsession Retreat.

After a decade of success for NCI, Amy Phillips talks about NCI's future:

"I think the fourth point of our mission statement is that people would feel inspired to get involved in the Nikkei community or whatever other communities…to which they belong.  There’s an understanding that going through NCI doesn’t always mean that you’ll necessarily be a Nikkei community leader.  And people move and there might not be a Nikkei organization or what not.  But we hope that everybody will walk away with an understanding of the Nikkei community, with experiences or skills that they can apply and networks when there are questions or when something happens, that you have friends or mentors or people you can talk to, so you’re not isolated.  There are some interns who we keep in touch really regularly and others who come back and say hi or email or join a conversation out of the blue and others who we haven’t really heard from much at all.  Still, we know that they’ve gotten involved with something else that’s their passion.  I think ideally, we would want everybody to be contributing to the Nikkei community in some way and we do have a pretty good number of people who have gone on to work at community based organizations.  Even if they’re not in a Japanese American organization, if they’re in an Asian American or any other non-profit, we can [still] have that relationship with the organizations, with the NCI intern as the bridge….

So I think some people might feel like, okay well do we have the same needs?  There’s always something so I feel like you don’t want to be complacent about anything…you always have to have people who are ready and willing to do something when something happens because you don’t know when something will happen, so the only constant is that there will always be needs.  And I think that with NCI then, because the different institutions are evolving, and again as our cultural identities continue to evolve, that there’s always a new discussion with every group of students. 

Again, there’s that balance where we’re trying to integrate the new and still educate about those foundational things, history or values that we want to continue.  There are some people who are like, ‘oh, whatever, the youth, they don’t know anything.’  And there are younger people who tend to say, ‘oh, we have to change everything that’s old cause that doesn’t apply anymore’ and I’m kind of in the middle where I feel like, gosh, there are a lot of great ideas.  There are a lot of things that are worth preserving, not in a packed away mothball, like untouchable way, but that both sides are so important to our cultural identity, our community identity, and our progress that I hope that we can continue to integrate that through NCI.   

When I asked if she thought NCI had accomplished its goal, she said:

"It’s not the kind of goal that has a clear ending or sunset date, so it’s an ongoing thing and I do feel like yeah, we have been able to introduce young people to different aspects of the Nikkei community and yeah, I think that the organization that have hosted interns have largely had a positive experience and got something out of their interns.  Yeah, I think that people continue to be, continue to come back and be part of the organizations in visible and less visible ways too.  I think it’s accomplishing its mission."

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NCI 2011 Alumni Dinner
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Current NCI 2011 interns and 10 years of NCI alumni meet for a dinner get-together in Little Tokyo during Midsession Retreat. Photo courtesy of NCI program More »

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