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Paul Pass

Executive Director

Paul Pass joined as Executive Director of the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth in January 2019. He oversees board governance, fundraising, operational management, organizational strategy, programming, and relationships with 200+ Japanese companies in North Texas. Before JASDFW, he worked at Asia Society Texas Center, where he held several positions, creating lasting connections for visitors through Asia-Pacific arts, business, cultural, and policy programming for adults, educators, families, and students. In his time at Asia Society, he had a role in over 920 programs reaching more 75,500 Houstonians. He also previously worked in education and community outreach positions at the World Affairs Council of Houston, the United States House of Representatives, the Delegation of the European Union to the United States, Indiana University, and the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

He was a 2019 TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program delegate, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mosaic Taiwan fellow in 2017, and an Institute for Cultural Diplomacy forum delegate in 2010. He holds a master’s degree from Indiana University, a bachelor’s degree from Miami University, earned a certificate from The London School of Economics and Political Science, completed post-graduate coursework at The Ohio State University, and earned a certificate in non-profit leadership from Southern Methodist University.

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Eli Hatch

Director of Corporate Relations and Business Programs

Eli joined JASDFW in July 2022 as the Director of Corporate Relations and Business Programs. He has worked in the field of international corporate and professional development in Tokyo (New York University) and the Bay Area (University of California, Berkeley). Eli also has a background in Japanese automotive manufacturing and regional expertise in East, Southeast, and Western Asia. Eli holds Master of Arts in International Education Management and Public Administration from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Monterey and is an alumnus of the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama, Japan. He participated in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture.

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Rebecca Pineda

Programs and Marketing Manager

Rebecca joined JASDFW in August 2022 as the Programs and Marketing Manager. She has worked in the fields of international education, arts, and cultural education, and led exchange programs between local Dallas schools and China. In 2021, Rebecca lived for twelve months in Nozawa Onsen, Nagano, Japan, where she taught elementary and middle school English, earned the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N2 Certificate, traveled to 27 of the 47 prefectures, and foraged for bamboo shoots. She is committed to the thriving and healthy exchange of language, culture, and commerce between Japan and the U.S. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Minor in Japanese Language from the University of North Texas.

Ikuko Fujiwara

Language Programs Manager

Ikuko joined JASDFW in July 2021 as the Education & Language Programs Coordinator. Her academic and professional background is in TESOL and Composition which began with earning a Master’s degree in TESOL from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her career has been devoted to instruction and supporting student success while promoting diversity and inclusion in educational spaces. She has experience teaching Japanese, ESOL and college composition at various colleges in the United States. She has also organized and participated in cultural events, conferences and panel discussions that emphasize and celebrate diversity. She is committed to creating inclusive and meaningful learning spaces where people engage in cross-cultural/intercultural understanding and learn to use language in empowering ways.

Sarah Modisette

Communications and Office Coordinator

Sarah joined JASDFW in January 2023 after serving as an intern in summer 2022. She recently earned her Bachelors in Japanese Language and Asian Studies at the University of North Texas. Sarah has experience in various officer positions in the Japanese Culture Organization and Japanese Honor Society at UNT and was a Teaching Assistant for the Japanese Department as a Lab Sensei for students in beginner 1 and 2 Japanese. Through her love of teaching and learning about Japanese culture and language, Sarah enjoys creating YouTube content in her spare time for the channel Sarah Loves Japan. With hopes of attending graduate school in Japan to pursue a Master’s in Japanese, she continues to pursue opportunities where she can gain intercultural competency, leadership skills, and Japanese language skills.


Hiromi Burns

Japan-in-a-Suitcase Coordinator

Hiromi joined JASDFW as the Japan-in-a-Suitcase Coordinator in May 2022. Through her experience of studying in different countries (Australia, Portugal, and Brazil) in college, she has found joy in cultural exchange and language learning. She has been an active volunteer member in community organizations and the Society to promote cross-cultural understanding. She graduated with associated degree in English Literature and Business English. She speaks Japanese, English, and Portuguese. 


Maki Hasegawa

Education Presenter

A native of Tokyo, Maki Hasegawa joined the staff in 2018. She enjoys sharing her love of Japan through Japan-in-a-Suitcase presentations and at Japan-America Society events and community festivals throughout the year. She received her bachelor’s degree in Government from Monmouth College in Illinois and worked at various global companies in Tokyo before moving to the Dallas area.

Alexandra Hawthorne

Summer 2023 Intern

Alex joined JASDFW in May 2023 as an intern. She is studying Psychology and Japanese at the University of North Texas and will graduate in December 2023. Alex has experience as UNT Japanese Honor Society’s Event Coordinator and is currently serving as President. She was also a Japanese Teaching Assistant for beginning Japanese 1 and 2, and tutor for students up to Advanced Japanese. She will continue working UNT’s Japanese Department as a grader in the Fall. Alex hopes to work for the JET program in 2024 and go to graduate school afterwards. Through connecting with various organizations on and off campus, she is committed to increasing cultural understanding and supporting diverse students. 


Akie Kasai

Summer/Fall 2023 Intern – bio forthcoming