Jabari Smith Puts ‘Global Perspective’ in Action

When it comes to Howard University’s pride in cultivating students to lead from a global perspective, Jabari Smith is a living example.

After graduating from the School of Communications, Smith (B.A. ’07) took advantage of the University’s global indoctrination by moving to rural Fujisaki, Aomori-ken, Japan to teach in the Japanese Exchange & Teaching (JET) Program for U.S. Citizens, joining the 2.5 percent American population in the Asian country. 

“I was the only foreigner and first Black man to live in Fujisaki,” Smith said. “I was compared to every Black male entertainer there is.”

But that didn’t stop him. Smith worked for two years as an English teacher, providing instruction to students, pre-school through adult, in Japan. He took advantage of the opportunity by learning the language and traveling to multiple countries in Southeast Asia. Those excursions ignited the flame for exposure and adventure that would become the catalyst for Jabari Inspires: Motivational YouTube VLOG, a YouTube platform through which Smith showcases snippets from his travels, which Smith founded only after he moved to New York City to receive entrepreneurship training at Kauffman FastTrac NewVenture.

What would follow professionally for Smith were all-encompassing experiences entering a 4-month competition for Paradise Hunter Global Host Search, helping to re-elect President Barack Obama as a 2012 Organizing For America (OFA) Field Organizer & Youth Outreach Coordinator, mentoring and teaching high school students in Denver, Colo., moving to Nairobi, Kenya to work in a journalistic capacity with Africa Community Development Media, and a TEDxTalk, among other things.

“My experience in Japan inspired me to continue the journey of travel not just for myself but to inspire others to do the same,” Smith said.

Smith later won a spot as one of Nivea’s brand ambassadors, and returned to Howard to give back by hosting “Dream Catchers Academy—a no-cost leadership, entrepreneurship, public speaking and global citizenship academy—for current students.


To follow Smith’s world travels and adventures, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @Jabarinspires.







“Connecting You to HU” is our goal. Howard alumni truly define this university and reinforce the powerful legacy that is our alma mater.