Children on stage with projection behind them about the Grassroots Summit

Grassroots Summit Overview

The Grassroots Summit is a citizens exchange operated by the John Manjiro Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange (CIE), rotating between Japan and America annually. In October 2020, Philadelphia will host 150 Japanese individuals for the 30th Annual Grassroots summit. The week-long exchange will center on a homestay program in which local leaders and host families work together to showcase what their community has to offer, creating a firsthand experience of local cultures.

The Grassroots Summit celebrates the spirit of friendship between the United States and Japan, as exemplified by the friendship between Captain William Whitfield and John Manjiro Nakahama. After rescuing him at sea in 1841, Captain Whitfield shared his home with a young Nakahama Manjiro. The relationship was pivotal in building US-Japan relations after Japanese isolationism ended. It was during this opening of Japan that Manjiro became a translator and interpreter.

For more details on the Philadelphia Grassroots Summit and other programs, please visit:
For the Japanese-language page about the Grassroot Summit, please visit:

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