(Top L-R: Yuhei Suzuki, Emily Taguchi, Yusuke Kato; Bottom L-R: Jake Price, Serena Winchell, Helen Verdeli)

1. Helen Verdeli, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, Teachers College, New York, NY
At Teachers College, Dr. Verdeli teaches graduate psychology students on research and practice of empirically based treatments, specifically IPT and CBT with adolescents and adults. Dr. Verdeli’s research focuses on treatment and prevention of mood disorders through psychotherapy, and involves two areas. One is on use of Interpersonal Psychotherapy as a preventive intervention for symptomatic adolescents of Bipolar parents. Dr. Verdeli’s other area of research involves adapting and testing in randomized controlled trials psychotherapy for depressed people in developing countries. She collaborated with academic and humanitarian groups in the US and abroad and had a major role in the cultural modification of Interpersonal Psychotherapy for use in resource-poor communities: depressed adults in South Uganda, depressed adolescents in refugee camps in North Uganda (many of whom were children soldiers) and distressed patients in primary care in Goa, India.

2. Emily Taguchi, Filmmaker, Producer, San Francisco, California
Compelled by a desire to witness and document the situation first hand, Emily traveled to Fukushima in May 2011. She produced a series of stories for Public Radio International’s The World and the acclaimed public television documentary series FRONTLINE, which became the program’s first coverage of the nuclear crisis. She returns to Fukushima regularly to continue documenting the lives of people there. She recently made a short 17-minute film of two natives of Kawauchi village, who decided to stay behind and work at the Dai-ichi Plant. We will showcase her film, “The Nuclear Village,” at our symposium.

Emily’s credits as director/producer/camera include PBS’s programs like FRONTLINE, Sound Tracks, and The Newshour, as well as CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 and The History Channel. Her work has also been featured on The New York Times, Newsweek, and The Wall Street Journal. She earned a Master’s degree in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

3. Jake Price, Photographer, Producer, Brooklyn, NY
Filmmaker and photographer Jake Price created UnknownSpring, an immersive online anthology that chronicles a community’s efforts to overcome the tsunami. He worked with Shimpei Takeda to create the documentary CPM-703, a portrait into a population living under the constant threat of radiation in Fukushima. During his time in Japan during the summer and fall of 2013, Jake spent time filming the everyday lives of residents living in disaster-stricken areas. He will screen this portrait for the first time at our March 2014 symposium.

4. Serena Winchell, JET alumna, Albany, NY
Serena Winchell was a JET in Shirakawa-shi, Fukushima-ken, on the borderline of the evacuation zone, from 2009-2013. Immediately after the disaster she participated in fundraising, as well as reaching out to American schools and family members for uplifting messages, money gifts, and supplies. She also volunteered for cleanup efforts when her employer deemed it safe enough.

5. Yuhei Suzuki, Fukushima, Japan
Yuhei Suzuki is not a native resident of Tohoku, but he entered there soon after the disaster and stayed in Ishinomaki, Miyagi, dedicating himself for a year for community recovery and job creation. He worked as a staff of a new organization “tumugiya,” which spearheaded two projects in Oshika Peninsula in Ishinomaki: 1) OCICA – a local deer horn accessory business, whose products have ben sold at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and 2) Boppora Shokudo – a food shop to stimulate job creation and community recovery, collaborating with local women’s groups, professional designers, architects and photographers. Last year he came back to Japan and visited various areas in Fukushima for a month, visiting friends, activists and local residents. He is currently working on creating a Fukushima brand for local crafts. Upon his graduation from the Mailman School for Public Health, Yuhei plans to return to Fukushima. With his profession of public health and perspective of narrative writer, he’s telling the stories of Fukushima and promoting new art, craft and community initiatives. Finishing up to his MPH degree at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, he’ll be back to Japan.

6. Bridge for Fukushima, Fukushima, Japan
The leader of Bridge for Fukushima, Kenichi Bamba, moved to Fukushima soon after 3/11. This organization provides resources for entities working towards rebuilding Fukushima, supports local business start-ups, and offers educational, job-placement, and childcare support for local mothers. Bridge for Fukushima also organizes “Fukushima Fukkou Kakehashi Tour,” which connects people in and out of Fukushima, showing visitors local life, economy, culture.


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