IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - With the help of a grant, Carly Lauffer will leave for Japan Sept. 15 to study international parental abduction.
Lauffer graduated from the University of Idaho this spring, and received a Fulbright grant to Japan in July. However, Lauffer is no stranger to Japan. After developing an interest in high school she decided to study abroad in Tokyo two years ago. It was there where Lauffer witnessed a protest over Japan's laws on international parental abductions.
"That's when it really kind of peaked my interest," said Lauffer.
Japan is not a member of the Hague Convention, a treaty that requires countries to return children abducted by a parent and brought into a country from another country.
"It's becoming almost like a pit in Japan," said Lauffer. "Where children are going into the country, but they're not coming back out."
She plans to interview people who have experienced these abductions and build substantial research come next year.
"I really hope this reaches a higher political level," said Lauffer.
Who knows? Maybe Lauffer will stay in Japan, herself.
"I really feel like my heart has a place over there, and that's where I need to be permanently," said Lauffer.
One thing is for sure, she is in good company. Forty-four Fulbright recipients have gone on to win the Nobel Prize.