2021 Sasakawa Fellows Ceremony

The annual Sasakawa Fellows Awards Ceremony was held on 18 October for students in the Class of 2021 whose fellowships are funded by The Nippon Foundation. With a record number of 31 Fellows in the Class of 2021, the total number of Sasakawa Fellows now stands at 730 from 81 countries. The Class of 2022 includes an additional 31 students who are funded by the Foundation as Sasakawa Fellowship Students.

Dr Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, and members of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) that administers the fellowship programme, including Mr Eisuke Kudo, Advisor for SPF and WMU Governor, joined the ceremony remotely from Japan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The students and WMU faculty and staff gathered in the WMU Sasakawa Auditorium.

Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, WMU President, addressed the gathering and thanked The Nippon Foundation for their continued support to the University which has been ongoing since 1987. She noted the growing, worldwide influence of the Sasakawa Fellows Network, composed of maritime and ocean leaders that she described as a “global engine of sustainable development.” She highlighted the strong connections WMU students make with people from a broad range of backgrounds, and who have a great variety of perspectives. “Please make sure that after you graduate, you keep in touch with each other, with the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and with the University. Together, we can all share your strengths, and also offer support for your continued growth,” she said. 

Dr Sasakawa congratulated the graduands and welcomed them as members of The Nippon Foundation family under the “One World One Family” philosophy which aims to build a better world through mutual cooperation cutting across politics, ideology, region, race and national borders. He said, “I would also like you to keep in touch and cooperate with each other and to exchange information with the Sasakawa fellows through the network and the “Friends of WMU” for a common goal of realizing a wonderful and peaceful world.” 

The WMU Sasakawa Fellows Programme provides a global network to enable the Fellows to support their countries in addressing maritime and ocean policy challenges and to develop excellence in leadership as well as promoting international cooperation. “Share the Pain. Share the Hope. Share the Future,” reflects The Nippon Foundation’s mission of social innovation to achieve a society where people support one another.

The meeting provided the opportunity for each of the new Fellows to introduce themself to Dr Sasakawa and express their appreciation to him and The Nippon Foundation. In his remarks, Mr Gabriel Chikelu from Nigeria thanked Dr Sasakawa for his generosity saying, “You have made the dreams of so many come true.” 

The meeting concluded with remarks from Ms Maria Mercedes Arevalo Aranaga from Venezuela on behalf of the new Sasakawa Fellows. She said, “Thanks to your generosity, we all are better professionals and now ambassadors of the Sasakawa fellowship and the maritime field. By funding our studies, you have invested in social innovation in our countries to build a sustainable world. Now we are agents of change to strengthen institutions, innovate and build maritime capacity.”

About WMU

The World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmö, Sweden is established within the framework of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. The mission of WMU is to be the world centre of excellence in postgraduate maritime and oceans education, professional training and research, while building global capacity and promoting sustainable development. WMU’s vision is to inspire leadership and innovation for a sustainable maritime and oceans future. WMU is an organization by and for the international maritime community and is committed to the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

About The Nippon Foundation’s Support to WMU

The Nippon Foundation’s contributions to WMU began in 1987 with providing fellowships for WMU students. The WMU Sasakawa Fellowship Programme began in 1988. The Nippon Foundation is the largest fellowship donor to the University, providing 30 new awards on an annual basis.

In addition to providing Fellowships, The Nippon Foundation usually hosts a week-long field study to Japan, although this could not take place in 2020 or 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2001, SPF has regularly hosted Regional Network Meetings for WMU Sasakawa Fellows. The Nippon Foundation further supports the capacity building mission of WMU by substantially funding the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute, as well as funding five Professorial Chairs, an Associate Professor and numerous conferences and events connected with WMU.

Each year, a limited number of Sasakawa Fellowships are open to government employees from developing countries. The Sasakawa Fellowship Awards Committee looks for well qualified candidates with a strong academic and professional record. Candidates aged between 26 and 35 are prioritized. Interested applicants should apply for admission to the University, and in tandem, should submit an Application for Donor Funding from their organizations, plus a Sasakawa Fellowship Motivational Statement, completed by the candidate. It is essential that both these forms are completed in detail and with reference to the University’s Academic Handbook and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation’s website: https://www.spf.org/en/ Complete applications must be sent to the University by the end of January in the year of entry. For more information, click here.

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