North American Partnership Launched by STEP and A.C.E.

Sam Shepherd, Yasushi Okushiro, David Woodward, Yosuke Negami

Tokyo, Japan and Seattle, Washington, USA: The Society for Testing English Proficiency (STEP) and Associates in Cultural Exchange (A.C.E.) are pleased to announce a cooperative agreement regarding U.S. based efforts for educational exchange.  Beginning from April 2011, A.C.E will handle college outreach for STEP in the greater North American region, facilitate communication between institutions in the U.S. and Japan, and develop scholar/ student exchange programs between cooperative institutions. A.C.E. will also manage North American promotion of the EIKEN test, the leading English- proficiency assessment in Japan. By enhancing communication between institutions in North America and Japan, this innovative partnership will advance STEP and A.C.E. toward their common goals of promoting English education and global citizenship.

“It’s very exciting to be a part of this partnership whose priority is to strengthen and expand educational exchanges between Japan and the United States,” says A.C.E. Senior Advisor for Asian Initiatives, Samuel Shepherd. “As someone long involved with U.S.-Japan relations, I’m well aware of the decreasing number of Japanese students coming to the U.S., and how challenging it has been over the years to interest American students to study in Japan and other parts of Asia. As two of the world’s leading and most dynamic democracies, it is imperative that the people of Japan and America continue to learn from one another.”

“STEP is excited about this new partnership and is looking forward to the many activities that this partnership will bring. A.C.E is a leader in educational initiatives around the world and it is my hope that this partnership will be beneficial to both organizations,” says Fumio Domyo, Chairman of STEP. “Not only will this lead to better services for test-takers in the United States, but it is my belief that this will serve to be the starting point of further educational exchange between the two countries, thus leading to the empowerment of future global leaders.”

STEP was established in 1963 as a nonprofit foundation with the purpose of advancing English education in Japan by providing accessible, affordable assessment tools for learners at all proficiency levels. The organization now administers a wide range of English tests from the young learner to the business level and conducts research into testing and language acquisition. STEP is best known for its main product, the EIKEN Test in Practical English Proficiency, the leading English-proficiency assessment in Japan. This test has 2.3 million examines annually at over 18,000 test sites including the U.S. and England. Since 2004, the EIKEN test has been used at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada to fulfill the language requirements for international admissions. Over 350 educational institutions in North America now recognize the EIKEN test for study abroad purposes.  In addition to the main product, as part of its study abroad efforts, STEP is the co-provider of IELTS in Japan.

“A.C.E. welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with STEP in the months and years ahead to revitalize and strengthen a wide range of educational exchange programs and services between North America and Japan,” says David Woodward, President of A.C.E. “We are honored to have been asked by an illustrious organization of the importance and long-standing reputation of STEP to develop a North American Liaison Office on their behalf, and look forward to significant and dynamic educational activities ensuing from this partnership.”

A.C.E is a leader in global education and provides a variety of English language and intercultural services worldwide. Since its founding in 1973 as American Cultural Exchange, A.C.E. has been working to make the world your community by helping people and organizations create new connections and build interpersonal networks with those of other linguistic and cultural backgrounds.  The most prominent programs include the A.C.E. Language Institutes at Montana State University and Seattle Pacific University. As a full-service cross-cultural consulting agency, A.C.E. also provides customized group programs and study tours for groups of participants seeking individualized training and professional development. Since its founding in 1973, A.C.E. has directly impacted the lives of over 120,000 people.


Chisato Yamamoto Phillips, Coordinator
EIKEN North American Liaison Office
Associates in Cultural Exchange
Tel: +1 206+217+9644 x212
Fax: +1 206-812-2257
Kaori Naito Church
Publicity Representative
The Society for Testing English Proficiency
Tel: 03-3266-6563
Fax: 03-3266-6145

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