Sasakawa Fellows Reception 2023

The annual Sasakawa Fellows Reception, hosted by The Nippon Foundation, was held at WMU on 27 October in the Sasakawa Auditorium. At the event, 30 students in the Class of 2023, 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 791 individuals from 85 countries, including the 31 Fellowship Students in the Class of 2024.  

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 2023 and 2024. Mr. Kudo congratulated the graduands and wished them success as the newest Sasakawa Fellows and future maritime and ocean leaders from WMU.

In his remarks, Professor Maximo Q. Mejia, Jr., WMU President, thanked The Nippon Foundation for their continued support to the University since 1987. He noted that the Foundation is renowned for its global engagement in many regards, including investing in people to secure a sustainable future for our oceans. Addressing the graduands he said, “You have learned that the currency of a real network is generosity not personal gain…By giving of yourself, your time and your talent, so many people will benefit, just as you will yourself.”

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 as there is a limit to what can be solved by one country, one institution and one individual. “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. Peter Tamarako Orubebe (Nigeria) spoke on behalf of the Class of 2023 Sasakawa Fellows. He thanked The Nippon Foundation for the opportunity to enrol at WMU, as it would not have been possible for many of the Fellows to study at such a prestigious institution without the Sasakawa Fellowship Programme. He spoke of the power of the WMU Sasakawa Fellows network saying, “We have built relationships that will last forever, and will help us in our professional journey. For this we are eternally grateful.”

Mr Kla-Edward Toomey II (Liberia) delivered thanks on behalf of the 31 Sasakawa Fellowship Students in the Class of 2024. He stated that they are prepared for the hard work and dedication required to become leaders in their respective fields and address the challenges facing the contemporary maritime industry. He extended best wishes to the graduating Fellows saying, “Let us continue to work together towards a sustainable and prosperous maritime industry.”

With this ceremony, the Class of 2023 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 was not possible during 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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