From the official press release:
The Government of Japan announced that His Majesty the Emperor of Japan has decorated Mr. Samuel M. Shepherd, currently a resident of Shoreline, Washington, with The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette. The award was made on November 3, 2010, Japan time, which is officially designated as “Culture Day” in Japan. Mr. Shepherd received the medal in recognition of his “contribution to strengthening of the relations between Japan and the United States through educational exchanges and internationalization of education in Japan.”
Mr. Shepherd is the former President of the National Association of Japan-America Societies, and former Executive Director/CEO of the Japan-United States Educational Commission (The Fulbright Program).
Mr. Shepherd has lived in Japan for over thirty years and an equal number of years in the U.S. His career has been dedicated to developing and administering international education programs, using his bi-cultural and bilingual skills in the development of international exchanges, second language education, and educational reform in the U.S. and Japan.
Although born in Oklahoma, Mr. Shepherd spent most of his childhood in Japan as the son of missionary parents and acquired both Japanese and English languages and cultures naturally. After studying history and Asian Studies at Point Loma Nazarene University and the University of Hawaii, Mr. Shepherd began his career in the field of international educational exchange.
After serving as a member of the U.S. Peace Corps in Korea and as a Fulbright Scholar involved in in-service education for English language teachers in Kanagawa, Japan, he moved to Seattle in 1977 and worked to facilitate the dynamic growth of the American Cultural Exchange, a multi-program, client-supported international education organization (currently called Associates in Cultural Exchange).
From 1994 through 2004, Mr. Shepherd served as the Executive Director and CEO of the Japan-United States Educational Commission (commonly referred to as The Fulbright Program: http://www.fulbright.jp )in Tokyo, Japan. During that time, Mr. Shepherd made a significant impact in the reformation of the Japanese education system and in international educational exchanges between the U.S. and Japan.
He has also served in the Japanese central government as the only non-Japanese member of the Central Council for Education as a Specialist Member appointed by the Japanese Minister of Education (1995-1998). His keen insight and extensive experience in the field of international affairs influenced the much needed internationalization of Japanese education, as well as the reform of the university/college systems in Japan. His contribution to Japanese education was recognized when he received the Commendation of Merit (for contributions to international education) from the Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports & Technology in 2004.
Upon returning to the U.S. in 2004, Mr Shepherd became the President of the 36-member National Association of Japan-America Societies (NAJAS / http://www.us-japan.org ), based in Washington, D.C. Ambassador Thomas S. Foley, former Ambassador to Japan and Ambassador Walter F. Mondale, former Ambassador to Japan, former Vice President and Senator from Minnesota, and Mr. Yotaro Kobayashi, Chairman of Fuji-Xerox, Co. Ltd., serve as Honorary Chairs of NAJAS.
Mr. Shepherd now serves as Advisor to The Society for Testing English Language Proficiency (STEP), which administers the Eiken Test for English language proficiency.
Congratulations to Sam from everyone at A.C.E.! It is always both an honor and a pleasure to work with you.