Who is Yukako Saito ?

Local Traditional Ecological Knowledge program provider for Restoration of biodiversity and the World Peace.

Founder of Genuine Education Network (GEN) Italy. CEO of GEN Japan Co., LTD . Innovative community-based education for global sustainability. Yukako has overseen UNESCO Creative Cities’ project and worked for the community-based cultural program design and also Education for Sustainable development (ESD) as a policy advisor for Japanese cities and ministries. 

After ten years of a career in the Internet business in Tokyo, The Fukushima Tsunami disaster triggered a life-changing event that allowed Yukako to move to Europe in 2011. As a single mother of two children, she had to live in a small community in Italy, for sustainability practice. Yukako graduated with an MA in Food Culture Communication & Marketing at the University of Gastronomic Science, in Piemonte. She has researched the socio-cultural value of the spirituality of food, to promote the idea of ‘Eating for Peace’. In 2014, she was selected as the first entrepreneur from outside Europe, under the Italian government’s Innovation Startup program, and founded GEN (Genuine Education Network), in Milano.  She is currently based in Northern Italy, in the city of Alba, developing an international project between Japan and Europe, for eco-system restoration and the well-being of humanity.


Yukako was chosen by Forbes, JAPAN, for the award, ‘55 Japanese Women Fighting in the World’, and selected as the first female social entrepreneur at the 10th Gold Signature Awards, by Chivas Regal in 2020.

Complete Bio in PDF file her

About GEN (Genuine Education Network)

GEN is the bridge between Japan and the world, as the community-based cultural education provider, which has been growing for over seven years, with participants from more than 30 countries. The word ‘school’ derives from the Greek σχολή (scholē), originally meaning ‘leisure’, and is now a familiar term in the tourism industry. Travelling to encounter another culture is a life-changing experience and a source of creative inspiration. That is why GEN believes in the power of community-based tourism, as an intercultural learning platform for global peace. The program is a highly-respected Traditional Ecological knowledge, underpinning sustainable local culture while enabling people worldwide to contribute to environmental problems and achieve the SDGs.

The contents are co-created with UNESCO Creative Cities and its citizens, who are the Intangible Cultural Heritage successors. Additionally, GEN curates the cultural value with an international perspective and helps locals to be powerful storytellers to rediscover their cultural pride. GEN is currently being challenged with a new project, ‘Root and Circle to Earth’, to launch in Venezia Biennale, to encourage the community’s immediate shift to a circular economy model with local natural resources to create innovation, which is dedicated to the UN campaign, the Decade on Eco-system Restoration 2021-2030.

Continued frequent and severe climate change is likely to cause extensive damage to biodiversity and social disruption in the community. Averting a tragic disaster and losing traditional culture, makes it inevitable that we must change how we produce, eat and live, for greater regeneration of the local community. The transition is strongly required in the tourism industry and, for that matter, for all businesses in every region.

The ‘Root and Circle to Earth’ is an installable program package for every community and local business, like housing, restaurant, fashion, and wellness, where we need to revolutionise for global green recovery, after the pandemic. We remain fully committed to contributing to the ecological shift of tourism, at the community level, for future generations. 


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