International Guest:  Ray Matsumiya, Executive Director, University of the Middle East project and Director of the Oleander Initiative.

The story of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima is of tragedy, catastrophe and loss. However, it is also one of hope, optimism and moving forward. Ray Matsumiya, the Director of the Oleander Initiative, presents these different but surprisingly complementary narratives in order for participants to gain new understanding of this pivotal event. In doing so, this presentation aims to inspire its viewers to think deeply about the concept of resilience and its role in their lives. 

Ray Matsumiya is the Director of the Cambridge, MA, USA based Oleander Initiative (oleanderinitiative.org) that gathers peacebuilders from around the world to Hiroshima, Japan for life changing programs and study tours.  He is also President Elect of the WE Rotary Club of International Peace, District 5000. 


Inspired by a mother from Hiroshima, Ray has devoted his professional career to unofficial diplomacy, cross-cultural exchange, and peacebuilding. As the Director of UME, a Boston-based organization, he has designed and supervised peacebuilding institutes for over 2500 educators in nine Middle Eastern/North African (MENA) countries, the US, Spain, and Japan over the past 20 years. UME programs have been endorsed by former US Sec of State John Kerry and praised by senior US State Department officials “to be among the best planned, managed and most effective public diplomacy efforts overseen by the Department.”


Ray’s programs have been featured in numerous newspapers around the world including the New York Times, Boston Globe, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun, Spain’s El Pais, Jordan’s Al-Araiand Morocco’s Le Matin. In 2016, his Op-Ed was published in USA Today. He has also made appearances on PBS via NHK World, SNRT (Morocco), and Radio Tunis.


Ray has been an invited speaker at TEDx, the Massachusetts State House, the Dayton International Peace Museum, the US embassy of Tunis, Rotary World Peace Conference 2020, and numerous universities such as the Sloan School of Management at M.I.T and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Ray received his Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and his BA from Wesleyan University. He is fluent in English and proficient in Japanese and Levant Arabic.

Share this with your friends