WMU and Japan Boost Strategic Partnership on Global Maritime and Oceans Education, Research and Capacity Building

Courtesy Call to Dr Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation

Shortly after assuming office as WMU President, Professor Maximo Q. Mejia paid courtesy visits to several key Japanese organizations that have ties to WMU, in particular The Nippon Foundation which is the largest fellowship donor to the University.

In a courtesy call on 29 June with Dr. Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, President Mejia personally thanked Chairman Sasakawa for the long-standing support the University has received from the Foundation since 1987. Professor Mejia emphasized that WMU would further strengthen its strategic partnership with The Nippon Foundation and other Japanese stakeholders on advancing the global capacities for a sustainable maritime and oceans future. Professor Mejia is the first WMU President from Asia and the first President who is a graduate of WMU. Regarding his appointment, Dr. Sasakawa commented, “I extend my sincerest congratulations on your esteemed appointment as the President of WMU. The elevation of an alumnus to the prestigious position of President is a matter of profound pride for all graduates. I hold firm in the conviction that every graduate joins me in celebrating your auspicious inauguration.”

President Mejia had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Mitsuyuki Unno, Executive Director of The Nippon Foundation, on 6 July. Mr Unno also congratulated President Mejia saying,“I take great pleasure in extending my heartfelt congratulations on your distinguished appointment as the President of WMU. I am confident that with your leadership, WMU will further its pursuit in nurturing oceans professionals, fostering diverse collaborations and furthering progress of the maritime and oceans community. I look forward to the opportunity to meet you once again in Malmö.”

In addition to the aforementioned visits with The Nippon Foundation, President Mejia met with Director General Atsushi Kaiya of the Maritime Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), Commandant Shohei Ishii of the Japan Coast Guard, President and CEO Hiroaki Sakashita of Class NK, President Yukizako Myochin and Secretary General Toshiya Morishige of the Japanese Shipowners’ Association, President Dr Atsushi Sunami of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, President Professor Mitsuo Ochi of the Hiroshima University, President Professor Toshio Iseki of the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT), President Noriaki Tajima of the Japan Agency of Maritime Education and Training for Seafarers (JMETS), Mayor Yoshiake Shinhara of Kure City, Superintendent Mitsuru Eguchi of the Japan Coast Guard Academy, and Chief Researcher Setsuo Nomura of the Japan Maritime Center.

President Mejia said, “Japan has been a strong, valued, and steadfast supporter of WMU since the early days of the University. Among other developments, The Nippon Foundation has been instrumental in the phenomenal growth in numbers ofboth students and faculty. It has also made possible the vigorous introduction of ocean governance as an area of focus to complement WMU’s traditional strength in maritime affairs. With the consistent support of Japan and The Nippon Foundation, WMU is able to continue fulfilling its mandate of delivering capacity-building and knowledge-creation programmes in support of the International Maritime Organization’s technical cooperation goals."

To view the photos taken during Professor Mejia's mission to Japan, click here.

President Professor Mejia meeting Japanese partners and stakeholders

About The Nippon Foundation’s Support to WMU

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

In addition to providing Fellowships, The Nippon Foundation hosts a week-long field study to Japan, and since 2001, SPF has regularly hosted Regional Network Meetings for WMU Sasakawa Fellows in partnership with the Friends of WMU, Japan. The Nippon Foundation further supports the capacity-building mission of WMU by substantially funding the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute, Professorial Chairs, international conferences and events.

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. 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. 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. 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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