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Yohei Sasakawa
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Almost 300 Sylff Fellows Receive COVID-19 Relief to Continue Studies, Start New Careers (1) [2022/01/12]
The novel coronavirus pandemic has directly impacted people’s lives everywhere in a way the world has never seen before. Fellows studying at 69 universities around the globe under The Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) are no exception. With COVID-19 presenting challenges to their studies and daily lives, some of them were almost forced to give up working toward a master’s or doctoral degree.

In line with a proposal advanced by Ms. Mari Suzuki, executive director of the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, our partner organization that administers the fellowship program, the Sylff Association has offered “COVID-19 Relief for Sylff Fellows 2021” to support current and recently graduated fellows facing financial difficulties in earning a degree or starting a career due to the pandemic.

In response, a total of 287 fellows at 55 universities successfully applied for the award−a lump sum to cover living expenses for about 3.5 months in the country where they are based, separate from the annual grant they receive as fellows. In total, the foundation paid out $1.2 million in COVID relief to the fellows.

The Nippon Foundation launched the Sylff scholarship program in 1987 to nurture dedicated young leaders who could boldly take on global challenges and devise workable solutions. In the 34 years since, more than 16,000 people at 69 universities in 44 countries have received fellowships from the fund.

I serve as chairman of the Sylff Association, which comprises all current and graduated fellows, the 69 Sylff institutions, The Nippon Foundation and the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research. It is designed to support the fellows’ academic advancement and encourage networking among the graduates−something that makes Sylff stand out from other fellowship programs.

I have been delighted to receive many letters of thanks from the fellows who took advantage of the relief funds. Here, I would like to share with you excerpts from the three of them.

Ms. Le Huhyen Nhung Nguyen, a 2018-2019 fellow at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) in Oita Prefecture in western Japan, wrote in her letter dated June 23, 2021: “I am deeply moved by the COVID-19 Relief in 2021. I humbly receive and am sincerely thankful for this timely support from Sylff Association.” When she visits Tokyo in the future, she said, she would like to thank me and the secretariat in person.

She recently completed a self-sponsored process of returning to Vietnam after much difficulty due to the COVID-19 travel constraints. In her home country, Ms. Nguyen said, she continued her research work remotely and finished her submission to the Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group publisher on schedule.

“This is my first time participating in a book project and I received great support from family, editors, colleagues and especially from Sylff Association,” she said, adding: “I strive to mentor and financially support younger fellows at my best capacity.”

(To be continued)
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:45 | FORGING GLOBAL TIES | URL | comment(0)