Active Listening & Leadership Workshop for ICU Rotary Peace Fellows

suitcase mystery

Invite Japan is known for its ability to create customized workshop programs – ones that are based on particular and relevant themes or concepts that teams want to focus on. One such program was created and implemented for a group of graduate student fellows at the International Christian University in Tokyo. As you will see, the result was a fantastic active listening and team building challenge that added new depths to the fellows’ learning experience and understanding of their roles as leaders. 


International Christian University (ICU) in Mitaka, Tokyo, is a highly-ranked and widely renowned non-denominational private liberal arts university. It is known for having completely bilingual campus and classroom environments, with students from all over the world.  

The Rotary Peace Center,established in 2002, is one of six such centers on campuses spread throughout the world. Apart from conducting research, it runs the “Peace Fellowship” program, which accommodates 10 graduate students each year who are pursuing masters-level degrees related to peace studies and conflict resolution.  

The Request

ICU approached Invite Japan looking for a team building activity and workshop with the following goals:

  • The event would be fully in English to accommodate their students from all over the world.
  • The workshop theme would be Leadership and Team Building.
  • The event organizers wanted the workshop to fuel greater dialogue and stronger relationships between the international Peace Fellows. Leadership would be the theme, but communication would also be a large part of the program.

Luckily, Invite Japan was here to help. Not only are they fully bilingual themselves, with staff from all over the world (so they know a thing or two about international exchanges), they also have ample experience creating team building programs that combine activities and discussions based on different themes.  

The Event – Suitcase Mystery and Active Listening Leadership Workshop

The event that Invite Japan crafted specifically for ICU and its Peace Fellows took into account their needs as an international institution of higher learning, and their desire to have real dialogue about “leadership” and what it means.

In order to accomplish this, Invite Japan combined its indoor Suitcase Mystery game with an active listening activity known as “Points of You”. During this activity, participants choose cards with various enigmatic photographs and abstract words on them in response to prompts (for example, “choose a card representing leadership in your past”), after which participants discuss their card and why they chose them with their group members. It’s a very effective way to talk about abstract concepts (such as “leadership”), have participants open up and share more about themselves and their thoughts, and practice active listening skills. The activity also expands participants’ creativity and imaginative thinking skills. The three prompts Invite Japan used for this event were:

  • Leadership in the past.
  • Leadership in the present.
  • Leadership in the future. 

While Points of You guided the Fellows through a deep discussion about what leadership means and what kind of leaders they want to become in the future, the Suitcase Mystery game activated their relationships to each other, and their understanding of what leadership means in a practical way. Through the various challenges and puzzles in the game, the Fellows had the chance to step up and demonstrate their team working and decision-making skills in a low-stakes environment, giving them an experience they can use for success in the future. 


  • Ice breaker and getting-to-know-you games that helped set a fun and open atmosphere.
  • A small leadership lecture from the Invite Japan team on some aspects and essential qualities of leadership to think about during the rest of the event (ex: using your own innate skills and personalities to fuel the type of leader you become). 
  • The Points of You active listening exercise got participants to really discuss how they see leadership on a deeper level. The exercise was very engaging, and spurred some very interesting discussions, such as leadership based on values versus leadership based on experience.
  •  The Suitcase Mystery game challenged the Fellows to think outside the box in ways they may not have been used to. It also helped them to use each other for support and success, something that is critical when talking about leadership. 

The Outcome

The Peace Fellows not only had a great time, they also learned a lot about themselves and each other in the process. Through the activities and discussions, the Fellows shared and thought about the theme of leadership and how it is connected to their personal and professional lives, how they see their futures, and its important relationship to one’s values. 

The chance to engage in this type of deep discussion isn’t something that occurs very often, and Invite Japan was happy to provide it for such a great group of grad students who are about to become leaders themselves in their respective fields and communities. 


  • I really enjoyed the game and enjoyed the teamwork. Sometimes we do need activities like that (regardless of how old we are or what position we have) in order to be reminded of how beautiful and fruitful teamwork can be!
  • Really great day and session.
  • The activity was good and the point about [connecting] our ways of leadership with the suitcases was better than being in a classroom listening about theories.

The event organizer was also extremely pleased with the event and said that all of the Peace Fellows had a great time.


Invite Japan is proud of the program they provided, which brought interactive fun and deep intellectual discussion together into one unforgettable afternoon. 

No matter the choice of topic or the needs of the team, Invite Japan can help craft the perfect team building program, with care, dedication, and a commitment to high quality service. 

Contact us to help plan your next event and bring your team to the next level!

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