In April, the District of Columbia attracts tourists from all over the world to see the beautiful Cherry Blossom Trees in bloom around the Tidal Basin. In 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted two Yoshino Cherry Trees on the northern bank of the Potomac River Tidal Basin. This event celebrated the Japanese government’s gift of 3,000 trees to the United States. In 1948, the Cherry Blossom Princess Program was founded to honor the relationship between Japan and the United States.
Due to Covid-19, the Cherry Blossom Festival did not happen in April, but instead, in June. The Cherry Blossom Princess Program selects one young woman from all 50 states to represent their state in Washington, D.C. This program selects young women based on their academic achievements and their leadership. Unlike a pageant, this program does not select a woman for queen through the process of competition, but instead by the spin of a wheel. The idea of the program is to build friendships and connect the Japanese with the Americans.
During the week of the Cherry Blossom Princess Program, these young women participate in a number of events and activities. They travel to the Embassy of Japan, meet with members of Congress, conduct women leadership conferences, and much more.
This year, the Arizona State Society chose Beni Harmony to represent the Grand Canyon State in this program. Beni Harmony is a student at Arizona State University- Thunderbird School of Global Management. Beni is studying Global Management and Political Science. Along with being a full-time college student, she interns for Congressman Paul Gosar in his Washington, D.C office. Miss Harmony is also a Public Affairs Director on a campaign for Congress, and she is a member of many fundraising organizations to help candidates get finances for their campaigns. She strives to be a Congresswoman one day, as well as a United States Ambassador, and is passionate about foreign affairs, national security, and immigration.
“It has been an honor to serve as Arizona’s delegate for this program. This past week I was able to stand next to exceptionally accomplished young women. I learned about Japanese culture, government affairs, and what it means to be a strong female leader. Every woman that was selected deserved recognition. The relationship between the United States and foreign dignitaries is something that deserves much more encouragement. I want to thank my congressional office and all my mentors for helping me receive this amazing award. I will always be an advocate for the relationships between countries and celebrating them,” Harmony stated.