Our mission is to develop transformational leaders who explore new frontiers in service for the greater good of Asia and beyond.
At ISAK, we believe not only in the power of education, but also in the power of young people to become catalysts for positive change in the world around them. As a school, we aim to create an environment where students learn to understand and appreciate different perspectives, challenge themselves academically and emotionally, and develop their innate potential as leaders and change-makers. A change-maker is someone who creates positive change by identifying what is most important and what is needed, taking action in the face of discomfort, using diversity as a strength, and supporting others in this practice.
Our school motto reflects our hopes for and dedication to each and every ISAK student, as they journey through one of the most important and exciting times of their lives.
One Life. Realize Your Potential. Be a Catalyst for Positive Change.
ISAK opened its doors in 2014 after more than six years of preparation. The school’s history began in 2008, when Lin Kobayashi (ISAK founder and Chair of the Board) and Mamoru Taniya (Representative Founder), two individuals who share a long-running passion for education, were introduced. From our initial Summer School program in 2010 to the completion of our initial phase of building construction in 2013, each step along the way has only emphasized the importance of and need for schools like ISAK.
Now, in our third year of operation, we are proud to be home to 155 remarkable students from 39 countries around the world. As we continue to grow as a school, we will continue looking for new challenges and opportunities, with the aim of being a catalyst for positive change in the field of education.
A message from Lin Kobayashi, School Founder and Chair of the Board
An upper class that benefits from a skewed tax system; a lower class that sells its votes for cash during political elections; a middle class that loses hope and leaves for other countries – These are the realities I faced in the Philippines when I worked there for the United Nations. These realities challenged my belief that educating a society’s lower class is the most effective way to democratize and change a nation. Although I remain committed to the education of the poor, I have also come to believe that a society’s progress depends upon the education of its leaders. It is not only developing countries, of course, that need visionary leaders. Every country, even a country like Japan that is proud of its highly educated citizens and high-quality workers, needs leaders who can navigate the challenges of our rapidly changing world.
About Ms. Kobayashi:
Ms. Kobayashi’s passion for education began when she received a full scholarship from Keidanren to study at a full-boarding international school in Canada. Inspired by that experience, she studied development economics at the University of Tokyo, then joined the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the Philippines, where she worked to program non-formal education programs for street children. Ms. Kobayashi felt a strong need to develop leadership education after witnessing extreme wealth disparity firsthand. In August 2008, Ms. Kobayashi returned to Japan to develop the ISAK project, and after seven years of hard work, ISAK opened its doors in August 2014.
Educational Background: Ms. Kobayashi received her International Baccalaureate Diploma in 1993. She graduated from the University of Tokyo with a BA in Development Economics in 1998, and completed an MA in International Education Policy Analysis from Stanford University in 2005.
Awards: 2012 – AERA magazine “100 People Who Are Rebuilding Japan”, 2013 – Nikkei Business “Change-Maker of the Year 2013”, 2014 – Nikkei Woman “Woman of the Year 2015”
Other: Selected as a “Young Global Leader 2012” by the World Economic Forum, known for its annual meeting in Davos. Has served as an advisory group member since 2015. Advisor to the Council for Professional Development for Teachers. Member of the Council for the Implementation of Education Rebuilding (Cabinet Secretariat) since October 2015. Member of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare “Workforce 2035: Maximizing; Individual Potential” round-table group since January 2016. Member of the Accenture Japan Inclusion and Diversity Advisory Board since March 2016.
A message from Mamoru Taniya, Representative Founder
Why is someone like me, who has been in the investment business for the last twenty years, now setting up an international school? It is because through the experience of investing in businesses in Japan and throughout Asia, I realized that what matters the most at the end of the day is responsible leadership. What the world needs most is ambitious and competent leaders who can be catalysts for economic growth and political progress. I became convinced that our best hope for the emergence of this type of leader lies in providing young people with a challenging academic and experience-based education that will teach them about the world and what they can do to improve it. This conviction grew so strong that I could no longer ignore or resist it.
About Mamoru Taniya:
Mamoru Taniya is Chairman & CEO of Asuka Asset Management, Ltd. He has a broad range of investment experiences ranging from fixed-income derivatives to private equities. Prior to founding Asuka, Taniya was a director at Tudor Capital Japan（1999-2002）and previously a managing director at Salomon Smith Barney. At Tudor he successfully started its private equity business in Japan. At Salomon, Taniya co-managed the Japan and Asia proprietary trading department. Mamoru Taniya received his B.A. in law from the University of Tokyo in 1987.