Rev. Dr. Toshihiro Takami ’56, founder of the Asian Rural Institute, passes away at 91

Rev. Dr. Toshihiro Takami

Rev. Dr. Toshihiro Takami ’56, founder of the Asian Rural Institute and a distinguished alumnus of Doane College, passed away on Thursday, September 6 at the age of 91.

Rev. Dr. Takami lived a decorated life of servant leadership. After graduating from Doane in 1956, Takami graduated from Yale Divinity School and became an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ in Japan, serving as the Director of the Southeast Asian Course of the Seminary for Rural Evangelism for 11 years.  Takami then founded the Asian Rural Institute in 1973, which is a training center for rural leaders, aiming to invite and train local grassroots leaders to more effectively serve in their communities as they work for those in poverty.

Each year ARI conducts a nine-month Rural Leaders Training Program on sustainable agriculture, community development, and leadership. Upon completion, program participants return to their home villages and communities to work side-by-side with others in their community, share their learning, and promote development from within. ARI has trained over 1,200 rural leaders from 51 different countries.

Takami earned a Honorary Doctor of Divinity from Doane University in 1974 and a Honorary Doctor of Divinity from St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minnesota) in 1991.

Takami was awarded the  Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding, often referred to as the Asian Nobel Peace Prize, in 1996. He also received the William Sloane Coffin Award for Peace and Justice from the Yale Divinity School in 2012.

Takami was a member of Delta Kappa Pi at Doane and received the Doane Builder Award in 2006.

More information on Rev. Dr. Takami can be found here.