Congratulations to 31 Sasakawa Fellows on Their Graduation from World Maritime University in Sweden [2021/11/12]
Addressing remotely from Tokyo the annual Awards Ceremony for World Maritime University Sasakawa Fellows held in Malmö, Sweden, on October 18, 2021.
As you may be aware, The Nippon Foundation provides a wide variety of scholarships to students around the world. In the ocean and maritime fields alone, we have supported more than 1,500 fellows from 150 countries to date who have studied at World Maritime University (WMU) of Sweden and other international maritime and ocean-related institutions across the globe.
On October 18, WMU held its annual Sasakawa Fellows Awards Ceremony for students in the class of 2021 whose fellowships are funded by the foundation. With a record number of 31 graduates this year, the total number of Sasakawa fellows from WMU now stands at 730 from 81 countries since we started the fellowship program in 1987. The class of 2022 includes an additional 31 students.
The 2021 fellows are from the following 25 countries−Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Japan, India, Indonesia, Fiji, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, Tunisia, Venezuela, Colombia, Guatemala, Argentina, Iran, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, and Ukraine.
Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, I joined the ceremony remotely from Japan along with members of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) that administers the fellowship program, including Mr. Eisuke Kudo, advisor for SPF and WMU governor. The students, together with faculty and staff, gathered in the WMU Sasakawa Auditorium in Malmö in southern Sweden.
Addressing the gathering, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, WMU President, thanked The Nippon Foundation for its continued support to the university. 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 also highlighted the strong connections WMU students make with people from a broad range of backgrounds and with a variety of perspectives.
In my message, I congratulated the graduates and welcomed them as members of The Nippon Foundation family under the “One World One Family” philosophy that aims to build a better world through mutual cooperation cutting across politics, ideology, region, race and national borders.
“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,” I said, adding: “For that, we will spare no effort to cooperate with you.”
After graduation, they become members of “Friends of WMU,” whose secretariat is in the Ocean Policy Research Institute of SPF. Friends of WMU is designed to build a global network to help the fellows exchange ideas and information, work together as they support their countries in addressing maritime and ocean policy challenges, and promote international cooperation.
I also promised that their study tour to Japan, which had to be cancelled due to COVID-19, will definitely be rescheduled for when we are all free from the pandemic.
The event also provided the opportunity for the graduating fellows to introduce themselves and express their appreciation to me and The Nippon Foundation.
The meeting concluded with remarks by Ms. Maria Mercedes Arevalo Aranaga from Venezuela on behalf of the graduating fellows, who said: “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.”
The text of my message can be seen here.