Sasakawa Fellows Reception 2022

The annual Sasakawa Fellows Reception, hosted by The Nippon Foundation, was held at WMU on 30 October in the Sasakawa Auditorium. At the event, 31 students in the Class of 2022, who were sponsored by The Nippon Foundation, were honored as WMU Sasakawa Fellows. The total number of WMU students who have received Sasakawa Fellowships to study at WMU now stands at 759 individuals from 84 countries, including the 30 Fellowship Students in the Class of 2023.  

Mr Eisuke Kudo, Special Advisor to the Ocean Policy Research Institute (OPRI) and Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF), welcomed the distinguished guests, WMU faculty and staff, family members of the Fellows, and Sasakawa Fellowship Students in the Class of 2022 and 2023. Mr. Kudo congratulated the graduands and wished them success as the newest Sasakawa Fellows and future maritime and ocean leaders from WMU.

Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, WMU President, addressed the gathering and thanked The Nippon Foundation for their continued support to the University since 1987. The President spoke of the importance of the WMU and Saskawa networks saying, “Personal contact and personal networks affect the quality of everything we do, from the mundane to the novel. It is much easier to break new ground when we are part of a trusted team. We are more responsive, more cooperative and more creative when working inside a supportive network of people who share our goals and our values,” she said.

Mr Mitsuyuki Unno, Executive Director of The Nippon Foundation, addressed the gathering and congratulated the students on the completion of their studies. He encouraged the graduands to set high goals, keep growing as individuals to drive change, and to use the Sasakawa Fellows network to solve complex issues of the ocean. “There is a limit to what can be solved by one country, one organization and one person. In order to pass the ocean on to future generations, we need to work across disciplines, professions and borders. You now have the tools to do this,” he said. Mr Unno welcomed the graduands to the family of Sasakawa Fellows and presented them each with a certificate. Upon receiving the honor of Fellow, each recipient also became a member of the Friends of WMU, Japan.

At a reception following the ceremony, Mr. Yankuba Marah spoke on behalf of the Class of 2022 Sasakawa Fellows. He thanked The Nippon Foundation for their generosity that has changed the lives of 31 students in the Class of 2022 and for the crucial role the Foundation plays in supporting maritime professionals who become part of the Sasakawa Fellows network. “We hope to replicate this kindness and fulfill the goal of Dr Sasakawa to make the world a better place,” he said.  

Ms Daniela Jimena Andrade Tamayo delivered thanks on behalf of the 30 Sasakawa Fellowship Students in the Class of 2023. She spoke of the immediate power of the Sasakawa Fellows network when on receiving confirmation of her Sasakawa Fellowship, she reached out to the names provided in the letter that included a Sasakawa Fellowship Student in the Class of 2022, and a Sasakawa Fellow who is a WMU alumnus. She quickly received warm hearted responses from both individuals, including offers to help if needed. “We [the Sasakawa Fellows Network] are really a family. Anywhere in the world, we will know people who are aiming for the same goals, who are willing to lend a hand, and who are working towards a sustainable future,” she said.

With this ceremony, the Class of 2022 Fellows officially joined the global network of individuals whose lives have been changed by accepting their roles as Sasakawa Fellows. “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.

About The Nippon Foundation’s Support to WMU

Through the mission of social innovation, The Nippon Foundation aims to achieve a society where all people support one another, reducing the burdens and challenges they face by working together. 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 since 2020 due to 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. 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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