Hakuba Forum

A unique, invitation-only, 4-day gathering of
innovative education leaders envisioning how schools can become centers of well-being committed to helping the world flourish.

Key Information:

Hakuba Forum Retreat – Sold Out for 2024

  • When: Thursday, June 20 – Saturday, June 22.
  • Who Is It For: Education leaders.
  • What to Expect: Engage in meaningful discussions in English (with the possibility of translation support). This retreat offers a unique opportunity to meet separately and collaboratively.

Hakuba Forum Festival Reserve Your Free Seat

  • When: Sunday, June 23.
  • Who Is It For: Everyone – open to both international guests and Japanese educators.
  • What to Expect: Join a diverse group of around 100 attendees in conversations conducted in both English and Japanese. Translation support is readily available to ensure you can fully participate and connect with fellow participants.


The Forum Retreat Experience

This unique gathering offers participants the opportunity to step back from their daily concerns and immerse themselves in an environment that fosters creativity, collaboration, and innovation. Hosted by the Hakuba International School, during the Hakuba Forum Retreat you will:

  • Refuel Your Passion: Take a break from the usual routine and recharge your enthusiasm for education. Hakuba’s serene surroundings and the inspiring company of fellow educators will reignite your passion for teaching and learning.
  • Reimagine Possibilities: Connect with visionaries who approach education from diverse perspectives. The forum encourages attendees to challenge the status quo, explore unconventional ideas, and collectively imagine new possibilities for education.
  • Collaborate with Difference: Embrace the power of collaboration with individuals who think and lead differently. By engaging in discussions and activities, you’ll gain fresh insights and innovative strategies to take back to your own school.
  • Inspire and Be Inspired: Share your unique experiences and insights while gaining inspiration from others. This forum is a two-way street where you can contribute to the conversation and leave with new perspectives that can transform your approach to education.
  • Reconnect with Purpose: Rediscover the fundamental purpose of education – to empower students and create a better future, a goal shared by Hakuba International School. The Hakuba Forum Retreat is a space where educators can realign with their core values and motivations.

In this retreat experience, you’ll find a supportive and collaborative environment that encourages reflection, innovation, and a renewed commitment to creating positive change in education.

Our Principles

  1. Human-Centric Education: Education should nurture our humanity, emphasizing qualities like empathy, creativity, and self-awareness, rather than promoting unhealthy competition.
  2. Ecosystem, Not Production Line: Schools should be diverse, interconnected ecosystems tailored to individual student needs, departing from the industrial-age ‘production line’ mentality.
  3. Well-being First: Prioritizing well-being as the foundation for academic success, reversing the traditional emphasis on academics at the cost of mental health.
  4. Celebrating Diversity: Diversity is a source of richness, not division, fostering a sense of community and interconnectedness.

Key Questions

  • How can we re-imagine education to prioritize holistic well-being for students, educators, and communities in a rapidly changing world?
  • What innovative strategies can we adopt to foster a global network of schools committed to cultivating human flourishing and environmental sustainability?
  • How can we create a more inclusive, equitable, and empowering educational landscape that nurtures diverse talents, perspectives, and values in all?

Hakuba Village

Nestled in the majestic Japanese Alps, Hakuba provides a backdrop like no other for our forum. Located just outside Nagano, the city famed for hosting the 1998 Winter Olympics, Hakuba serves as a haven for winter sports enthusiasts, offering world-class skiing, snowboarding, and hiking. Hakuba is more than just a venue; it’s an experience that complements the innovative spirit of our forum. Come for the conference, stay for the adventure.

Festival of Learning

The Hakuba Festival of Learning, is your opportunity to join a vibrant exchange of ideas among educators and thought leaders.

The festival brings together a global mix of educators and Japanese peers. It offers a diverse program featuring three engaging streams. These streams provide you with the opportunity to explore various topics while connecting with fellow attendees.

Join us at the Hakuba Forum Festival, where educators from diverse backgrounds unite to share insights and inspire innovation.

Hakuba Forum


Experience a unique 3-day retreat with innovative education leaders in the heart of the North Japanese Alps, designed to envision how schools can become centers of well-being, respond to technological advancement and develop a commitment to helping the world flourish.

Founding Members and Class of 2023

The Forum

Immerse yourself in a dynamic three-day event at the picturesque Hotel Mominoki, nestled at the base of the Happoone Mountain in the Japanese Northern Alps. Join us for The Forum, where thought leaders, industry experts, and delegates from around the world gather to share insights, foster innovation, and strengthen connections. Hotel Mominoki offers playful meeting spaces, a European-style pub, and unique glamping tents for breakout sessions, ensuring an unforgettable experience.

The Festival

Get ready for a invigorating day of learning and inspiration at The Festival. While we’re putting the finishing touches on the perfect location, expect thought-provoking workshops, engaging activities, and networking opportunities in an environment designed for innovation. Join us for a transformative experience at The Festival, where knowledge and celebration unite in a unique setting. Don’t miss this chance to be part of something extraordinary.

Hakuba Forum Creating Networks Globally

Those invited to the Hakuba Forum Retreat get complimentary access to the Hakuba Forum Festival of Learning.


(Covers event participation and lunches)

  • The Forum (plus Festival of Learning): Sold Out
  • The Festival (Japan Based Educationalists, International Teachers and Non Educationalists – 1 day): Free

Meet the Team

  • Russell Cailey

    Russell Cailey

    CEO of THINK Learning Studio

    Russell Cailey, CEO of THINK Learning Studio and co-founder of the Hakuba Forum, is shaping education’s future with innovation and empowerment.

  • Emi (Miller) Takemura

    Emi (Miller) Takemura

    Representative Director of Learn by Creation

    Emi Takemura, Representative Director of Learn by Creation, pioneers student-centered learning at the intersection of art, science, and technology.

  • Akiko Horii

    Akiko Horii

    Administrator & Director, Hakuba International School

    Akiko Horii, Administrator & Director at Hakuba International School, blends corporate expertise with innovative education, fostering lifelong learners.


  • Tomoko Kusamoto

    Tomoko Kusamoto

    Founder of Hakuba International School

    Tomoko Kusamoto, founder of Hakuba International School, combines finance acumen with a passion for sustainability and educational excellence.


  • Christopher Balme

    Christopher Balme

    Founding Principal of Hakuba International School

    Christopher Balme, Education Leader at Hakuba International School, champions human potential through innovative education and philanthropy.

  • Raïsa Mirza

    Raïsa Mirza

    Head of Social Impact Initiatives at UWC Atlantic College

    Raïsa M. stands as a catalyst for change, propelling human potential forward through visionary leadership and transformative education.

  • Chung Man Chan

    Chung Man Chan

    Managing Director of THINK Learning Studio

    Chung Man, a global educator, advocates project-based learning and futures thinking, having developed over 1500 educational projects worldwide.

Explore Nature-Based Learning with Doyobi’s John Tan at the Hakuba Forum

Read More Below

Unlock the World of Unplugged Learning: A Unique Prelude to the Hakuba Forum


Dive into an enriching journey before the Hakuba Forum begins, with an exclusive event presented by John Tan of Doyobi, celebrated by Founders Forum as one of the 40 Edtech Startups To Watch Globally and featured on HolonIQ’s prestigious list of 50 Most Promising EdTech Startups Across Southeast Asia. As a victor of the MIT Solve Octava Social Innovation Challenge, John Tan’s commitment to human flourishing shines through in his weekly newsletters and now, through an unparalleled learning adventure.


Saturday Kids Unplugged Karuizawa: Reconnect with Nature

  • Dates: Monday 17th June – Wednesday 19th June
  • Time: 9 AM – 3 PM (Lunch included)
  • Special Visit: EtonHouse Karuizawa
  • Cost: US$500 per participant

Join a group of 4-14 year olds at Saturday Kids Unplugged Karuizawa on 17-19 June (Monday to Wednesday before the Hakuba Forum starts on Thursday). Observe how city kids from Singapore and Tokyo behave when they go unplugged, and join the kids in activities like tree climbing, high ropes and river play. The program includes a visit to EtonHouse Karuizawa, an international pre-school inspired by Reggio Emilia approach and nature-based learning. Hear from EtonHouse Karuizawa founder Anli Tan as he explains how the preschool’s program is designed to nurture a respect for the environment while giving children the autonomy to explore the natural world.

Reserve Your Spot: A Bespoke Journey to Unplugged Learning

This event is an exclusive add-on, offering a deep dive into the essence of nature-based education prior to the Hakuba Forum. Availability is limited, ensuring a personalized and impactful experience. To secure your participation, please reach out to our team directly, at studio@thinkglobalschool.com. Embark on this unique adventure, and enrich your Hakuba Forum experience with a touch of natural exploration and learning.

See THINK Learning Studio in Action

Check out photos of some of our teacher trainings, workshops, and professional
development programs.

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