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Yohei Sasakawa
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Quiz Contest Promotes Chinese Students’ Understanding of Japan [2019年12月24日(Tue)]

The final of the individual competition of the Sasakawa Cup Japanese Knowledge Contest for University Students in China 2019 held at Nanjing University on November 16-17.  
Photo by Ms. Guo Shasha of the China Pictorial.

The Japan Science Society (JSS), The Nippon Foundation’s partner organization, has been working to promote Chinese people’s understanding of Japanese culture and society for years. As part of such efforts, JSS held the Sasakawa Cup Japanese Knowledge Contest for University Students in China 2019 at Nanjing University on November 16-17.

The annual contest was joined by about 340 Japanese-language students from 114 universities across China. It consisted of team and individual competitions, with participants quizzed in Japanese about a wide variety of topics on Japan such as its history, current affairs, social issues and literature.

The competition used a fastest-finger-first format, with some contestants giving correct answers before the whole questions had been read out, reflecting just how much they knew about Japan.

Following a heated contest, the special prize for the team competition was won by the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (Sichuan Province), while that for individual competitors went to Mr. Yang Yuheng of the Information Engineering University, Luoyang Campus (Henan Province).

The winners of the special and first prizes in the team competition and those of the special, first and second prizes in the individual matches will be invited by JSS to visit Japan for exchange programs with Japanese students.

Geopolitically, Japan and China are inseparable. They are the only two countries on Earth whose peoples have maintained relatively friendly relations over the past two thousand years, despite a few unhappy conflicts in history.

I hope sincerely that by continuing private-sector initiatives such as these quiz contests, young people of Japan and China will seek new future-oriented relations between the two nations.

2.jpgThe final of the team competition.

Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:44 | FORGING GLOBAL TIES | URL | comment(0)
Let’s Have the World Understand More About Japanese Civilization [2019年11月19日(Tue)]

At a ceremony on October 10, 2019, The Nippon Foundation bestowed fellowships on 21 students for study of Japanese language and culture at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies (IUC) for the 2019–20 academic year. 

In his 1996 book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, the American political scientist Samuel P. Huntington divided the world into the seven or eight “major civilizations”−Hindu, Muslim, Chinese, Orthodox, Western, Latin American, Japanese and African.

But he had his doubts about Africa, saying it may not be classified as a major civilization. On the other hand, Japan came to form a civilization of its own after becoming independent of Chinese civilization from the 2nd to the 5th centuries.

As part of our efforts to have people around the world know more about Japan’s unique civilization, The Nippon Foundation has supported students engaged in Japanese studies at major universities around the world under The Nippon Foundation Fellows Program at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies (IUC) since 2012.

For the 2019–20 academic year, we bestowed fellowships on 21 students−12 PhD and 9 MA candidates−from the United States, Canada, China, South Korea, Australia, India and Switzerland for study of Japanese language and culture at IUC based in Yokohama, south of Tokyo.  

Resident Director Dr. Bruce L. Batten is teaching with great passion and every year the students return home enriched by their studies following a 10-month program.

I still have a deep concern about how poorly Japan has been doing in transmitting its ideas and information about itself to the rest of the world, and in cultivating foreign experts on Japan.

Having long wondered how we should train Japan experts around the world, I have come to think that the program at the IUC fellowship program is part of the solution.

It is my sincere hope that the 21 new IUC students will achieve a level of proficiency sufficient to pursue their academic or professional goals. This is an important and essential step toward fully understanding Japan and becoming respected Japan experts. 
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 14:04 | FORGING GLOBAL TIES | URL | comment(0)
Growing Number of Chinese Sasakawa Fellows Promoting Mutual Understanding with Japan 3 [2019年10月28日(Mon)]
At a ceremony to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Sylff at Yunnan University in Kunming on September 25.

▼3.83 Million Japanese Books Donated to 75 Chinese Universities

Under the Education and Research Library Project, our partner organization, the Japan Science Society, donated a total of 3.83 million Japanese books to 75 universities all across China.

To Yunnan University alone, which we visited, 182,000 books have been donated in 33 installments to their library’s Japan section.

There are about 650,000 students who are taking Japanese courses at 508 universities all over China. I believe we should increase the number of Chinese institutions to which we donate Japanese books to 100.

Chinese students from more than 100 universities are participating in the essay contests organized by the Japan Science Society. It now allows the growing number of Chinese winners to come to Japan to compete with their Japanese counterparts, further promoting mutual understanding between them.

The Nippon Foundation and its sister organizations are engaged in a wide variety of exchanges with China, like the Japan-China Field Officer Exchange Program that invites officers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to Japan.

But the three programs we inspected firsthand this time are making steady and visible progress.

After this latest trip, I am convinced that undertaking these projects in China will go a long way toward promoting mutual understanding and friendship between our two countries.

Japanese books corner at the library of the Yunnan University

Many Sylff fellows and faculty members attended the ceremony at Yunnan University in Kunming on September 25.

Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:33 | FORGING GLOBAL TIES | URL | comment(0)
Growing Number of Chinese Sasakawa Fellows Promoting Mutual Understanding with Japan 2 [2019年10月25日(Fri)]
Addressing a forum organized by the Sasakawa Medical Scholarship Alumni Association on September 28, 2019.

▼From Learning to Joint Research

The Nippon Foundation started the Japan-China Sasakawa Medical Fellowship in 1986. So far, it has invited a total of 2,404 medical students and professionals to Japan to study and conduct joint research at universities, hospitals and research institutions all over country. The fellows now serve at the center of the Chinese medical profession, and include presidents of medical universities and hospitals, and professors across the nation.

Initially, we invited some 100 doctors, pharmacists and nurses every year to study at Japanese universities, hospitals and other institutes across the country. But with Chinese medical research advancing substantially as the years went by, we now invite some 30 health professionals for doctoral courses and joint research programs with their Japanese counterparts under the fifth phase of the fellowship program.

During our visit to Shenyang in the northeastern province of Liaoning on September 27-28, I told a meeting of their graduates, the Sasakawa Medical Scholarship Alumni Association, that I don’t know of any other fellowship program that covers a whole range of high-level medical studies and has continued for more than three decades, adding that The Nippon Foundation is so proud of having supported a project that directly affects Chinese people’s health.

I learned that planning is now under way to hold a gala ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in 2021 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Sasakawa fellowship program, which will be attended by not only alumni but also some 1,700 professors and instructors from 225 Japanese institutions who have taught and worked with the Chinese students across Japan.

At a dinner hosted by Mr. Zhao Qunk, President of the Sasakawa MedicalScholarship Alumni Association, at a hotel in Shenyang on September 27
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:16 | FORGING GLOBAL TIES | URL | comment(0)
Growing Number of Chinese Sasakawa Fellows Promoting Mutual Understanding with Japan 1 [2019年10月24日(Thu)]
Addressing a ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of the Sylff program at Chongqing University in Chongqing on September 23, 2019.

I visited China in late September to take a firsthand look at the progress The Nippon Foundation and its partner organizations have made by undertaking fellowship and book-donation programs for Chinese students.

In the quarter century since the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) and the Japan-China Sasakawa Medical Fellowship were launched, more than 10,000 Chinese recipients of fellowships are now working actively in various circles in China. Also, the Japan Science Society under its Education and Research Library Project has donated as many as 3.83 million Japanese books to Chinese universities, helping promote Chinese students’ understanding of Japan.

During this period, China became the second largest economy in the world, surpassing Japan and bringing about dramatic changes throughout its society. To help further promote mutual understanding and friendship between the two countries, I look forward to building upon the brand awareness of our programs in China and making the best use of the growing network of Sasakawa alumni.

▼Chinese Account for Half of 16,000 Sasakawa Fellowship Alumni

During my week-long trip to China, I first attended the ceremonies to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Sylff at two Chinese universities, Chongqing University in Chongqing, an industrial hub in southwest China, on September 23 and Yunnan University in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, in the southwestern border area on September 25.

Sylff was initially established at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in the United States in 1987, with an endowment fund of one million dollars, to cultivate human resources to take on global challenges. In the 32 years since, 16,000 fellows at 69 universities in 44 countries around the world have received scholarships from the fund.

In China, five universities, including Beijing University and Fudan University, were chosen for the program in 1992, and they were joined by five others, such as Chongqing University and Yunnan University in 1994, bringing the total to 10.

In those days, there were few such scholarship programs available in China and one million dollars was considered a much more generous amount than it is now.

As Deputy Secretary-General Li Chunsheng of the China Education Association for International Exchange stated at the 25th anniversary ceremonies at the two universities, “Sylff was something of a blessed rain after a long drought,” with China now accounting for half of the total fellows at 8,000 from 10 universities, including 500 from Chongqing University and 1,600 from Yunnan University.

Mr. Zhang Zongyi, president of Chongqing University, told me before the ceremony at his school that he was a Sylff fellow himself and learned a lot from the program. He added that with years of tradition behind it, the name of Sylff resonates through the Chinese community of international exchange programs, with many students still aiming at becoming fellows. I told him that we are proud of being of some help to him and others.

Mr. Ming Ju, vice president of Chongqing University, stated that many Sylff alumni are now serving as the leaders of various circles in China, forming bonds between the two countries, while Mr. Yang Zeyu, vice president of Yunnan University, agreed, saying the Sylff program has produced numerous leaders of Chinese academic and business communities.

These comments have made me convinced that the Sylff program has contributed considerably to the development of China.

At this moment, there are scores of scholarship programs in China. How to differentiate Sylff from the others is something we have to consider from now on. Fortunately, the Chinese authorities, usually reluctant to approve the formation of private organizations in their country, have given the go-ahead to the Sylff Association, which is starting to support the fellows’ academic advancement and encourage networking among the graduates−something that makes Sylff unique compared with other fellowship programs in the world.

The association comprises all current and graduated fellows, the 10 Chinese institutions, The Nippon Foundation and its partner organization, the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, which administers the fellowship program.


A group photo with faculty members and Sylff fellows at Chongqing University in Chongqing on September 23, 2019.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:00 | FORGING GLOBAL TIES | URL | comment(0)
Let’s Make a New Anglo-Japanese Alliance a Pillar of Tokyo’s Diplomacy [2019年08月28日(Wed)]


The Imphal Peace Museum was completed at the foot of “Red Hill” where many Japanese soldiers succumbed.

I attended an opening ceremony of the Imphal Peace Museum in northeast India, marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Imphal between the Japanese and Allied Forces, led by the Britons. I took the occasion to shed a fresh light on a new Anglo-Japanese alliance as the two nations have undergone some important developments in their defense and national security policies during the recent years.

Japan and the United Kingdom are both ocean states, situated at the ends of the Eurasian continent, and the important allies of the United States in Asia and Europe, respectively.

Given the relative decline of the United States and the more assertive China and Russia, it would not only promote the tripartite alliance among Japan, the U.K. and the United States, but also contribute to the stability in Asia if Tokyo and London would upgrade the bilateral partnership.

The opening ceremony of the Imphal Peace Museum was held in the capital of Manipur state in northeast India on June 22 in the presence of representatives of both Japan and Britain as well as the local communities. They all confirmed the invaluable peace that we share today is the legacy of the ultimate suffering of those who have fought and have fallen in war

The Battle of Imphal lasted for about four months from March to July 1944. Out of the 90,000 Japanese troops massed for the operation, more than 30,000 were killed, and an additional 40,000 were wounded. The United Kingdom lost colonies, such as India and Burma (now Myanmar), as a result of the rising local call for independence from the Britons. British Historian Arnold Toynbee said: “Japan put an end to West's colonialism in Asia once and for all.”

The Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902–23) bound Japan and Britain to assist one another in safeguarding their respective interests in China and Korea as well as to confront Russian expansionism in the Far East.  It was a cornerstone of Japanese and British policies in Asia until after World War I. Japan’s international status was considered to be elevated to an equal allay of the country which dominated the world seven seas.

In March 1917 during World War I, the former Japanese Navy dispatched a cruiser and eight destroyers to Malta, a maritime strategic stronghold in the Mediterranean, at the request of the United Kingdom under the alliance. The Japanese vessels protected the Allied convoy from the German submarine U-boat attacks. They were known as the deities of the Mediterranean Sea by rescuing 3,000 crewmembers of British transport ships attacked by U-boat torpedoes.

During those day, the Japanese Navy destroyer Sakaki was severely damaged by the U-boat and 59 of its crewmen, including the captain, were killed in the combat operations. In the corner of the Commonwealth Army Cemetery in the capital of Valletta, there are monuments for Japanese, including 12 who died in the war. The nearby Maritime Museum also has a corner of Japanese Imperial Navy in Malta, and the city square is decorated with photos of Japanese sailors. During his visit to Malta in May 2017, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks with Dr. Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta, and prayed for the souls of the war dead of the Japanese Imperial Navy.

In 1968, Britain announced its withdrawal from the East of Suez as it let the United Stated gain a world hegemony,  But since its decision to leave the European Community (EC) in 2016, it has switched to a policy of being engaged actively in maintaining the stability of the Indo-Pacific region.  In August 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May visited Japan and issued the Japan-U.K. Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation with Prime Minister Abe, committing themselves to elevating their global strategic partnership and cooperation to the next level, that is an alliance. Since then, the two countries actively promoted their concrete defense cooperation, including the first-ever joint exercises between the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force and the Royal Army on Japanese soil in Oyama, Shizuoka prefecture--something that Japan has never done with any country but the United States.

The history of the world has often been marked by the struggle between the sea powers, such as the United States, Japan and Britain and the land powers, such as Russia and China. Although full-scale analysis should be left to experts, it was the United Kingdom which was the cornerstone of Japanese diplomacy from Meiji to Taisho eras (1868-1925). Strengthening the relationship between the two countries, which can be called a new Anglo-Japanese alliance, will increase their options for responding to the rapidly changing international situation and thereby benefit both Japan and the United Kingdom.


Among the exhibits on display are many items donated by bereaved family members of Japanese soldiers who fell in the Battle of Imphal.

Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:00 | FORGING GLOBAL TIES | URL | comment(0)
Mrs. Abe May Have Been Instrumental in Facilitating Prime Minister’s Iran Visit [2019年06月28日(Fri)]

Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF), a partner organization of The Nippon Foundation, has been stepping up private-sector exchanges with Iran to promote mutual understanding between the two counties.  Since 2010, it has also organized a series of unofficial round-table conferences and workshops with the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

In May 2016, SPF organized a symposium on "Women, Peace and Sustainable Development" in Tehran and invited Japan’s First Lady, Mrs. Akie Abe, to give the keynote speech.  While in the Iranian capital, she also held meetings with two female Iranian leaders, Mrs. Shahindokht Molaverdi, the then Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, and Mrs. Masoumeh Ebtekar, the then Vice President and Head of the Department of Environment, exchanging views on women’s empowerment and other issues.

Mrs. Abe was also the guest of honor at a women-only luncheon meeting hosted by First Vice President, Ms. Eshaq Jahangiri, at the Sadabaad Palace.  She had lively conversations with other participants, including Vice President Molaverdi and the wives of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javal Zarif, Iranian Ambassador to Japan Reza Nazar Ahari and Japanese Ambassador Hiroyasu Kobayashi, according to Ms. Junko Chano, SPF Executive Director.

Mrs. Abe then spoke at a press conference, stressing the importance of the symposium and the historical relations between Japan and Iran. “I believe that someday, the time will come when my husband will be able to visit Iran,” she said, drawing a round of applause from reporters covering the event.

In February 2017, Mrs. Abe gave the keynote speech at another symposium between Japan and Iran, which the SPF hosted in Tokyo, titled “Women and Education as Economic Empowerment.” She again held talks with Ms. Shahindokht Molaverdi, Iranian Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, who attended the symposium, further deepening their friendship.  

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Iran in mid-June 2019 amid the rising tension between the United States and Iran.  It was the first visit to Iran by a Japanese leader in 41 years.Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Mr. Abe that Iran has no intention to make, hold or use nuclear weapons, the Japanese leader said.

I assume that Mrs. Abe’s friendly relations with the Iranians, especially the female leaders she met, helped gain their confidence in Japan and may have laid at least part of the groundwork for her husband’s historic Iran visit.


Mrs. Akie Abe addressing the symposium titled “Women, Peace and Sustainable Development” held in Tehran on May 9, 2016.


Participants in the symposium were overwhelmingly women.


(From left) Mrs. Akie Abe, two female Iranian vice presidents and Yohei Sasakawa at the symposium.

Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 15:16 | FORGING GLOBAL TIES | URL | comment(0)
Congratulations to Two Chinese Universities on 25th Anniversary of Sylff [2019年06月21日(Fri)]


A group photo with Sylff fellows and faculty members at Inner Mongolia University
(June 12, 2019, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region)

I was genuinely delighted to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) programs at two universities in China during my recent visit to that country.

I first visited Xinjiang University in Urumqi, the capital city of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, on June 10 and then went on to Inner Mongolia University in Hohhot, the capital of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on June 12 to attend events commemorating the anniversary.

Twenty-five years ago, The Nippon Foundation chose to endow these two universities, based in remote, ethnic minority regions, with funding to establish a Sylff program. We believed that just as leading universities in such big cities as Beijing had done, they too could also identify and nurture young leaders who would contribute greatly to the development of their regions and their country.

Witnessing the remarkable development of Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, especially their capital cities, I told the Sylff fellows and faculty members gathered at their respective universities for the celebrations just how proud I was of our decision 25 years ago, and how grateful too for their continued dedication to the successful management of the Sylff program.

Sylff was initially established at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in the United States in 1987, to cultivate human resources capable of transcending differences in nationality, language, ethnicity, religion and political systems to take on global challenges. In the 32 years since, 16,000 fellows at 69 universities in 44 countries around the world have received scholarships from the fund.

Xinjiang University and Inner Mongolia University are among the ten Sylff-affiliated universities in China, which also accounts for roughly half of the fellows, at 8,000. Xinjiang University has 620 Sylff fellows and Inner Mongolia University 605 fellows.

The fund is donated by The Nippon Foundation, and the program is administered by our partner organization, the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research.

Pointing out that 8 million Chinese people visited Japan last year, I told the two gatherings that Japan and China are the only two countries in the world whose peoples have maintained relatively friendly relations over the past two thousand years, despite a few unhappy political conflicts in history.

Quoting my motto, “We are one world, one family,”−I stressed that it is important for the ordinary citizens of the two countries to know each other well regardless of the state of political relations at any given time, and seek new future-oriented relations between the two nations, looking back on the history of the bilateral relations over the two thousand years. “It will depend on all of you gathered here today,” I said.

One thing that makes Sylff unique among global fellowship programs is the support offered to fellows throughout their careers−even after the scholarships end.

The Sylff Association, which comprises all current and graduated fellows, the 69 Sylff institutions, The Nippon Foundation and the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, offers continuing support to promote the fellows’ academic advancement and development as leaders, as well as encouraging networking among the fellows.

It is my hope that the Sylff fellows who studied at these and other Chinese universities will make the best use of their networking to promote mutual understanding between Japan and China.

Finally, I would like to express my deep gratitude to Party Committee Secretary Xu Xianyi of Xinjiang University and Party Secretary Zhu Bingwen of Inner Mongolia University for hosting such successful celebratory meetings and the warm hospitality they extended to us during our stay in their cities.

The event to mark the 25th anniversary of the Sylff (Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund) program at Xinjiang University
(June 10, 2019, Urumqi)
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:00 | FORGING GLOBAL TIES | URL | comment(0)
How about a New Anglo-Japanese Alliance to Confront Global Challenges? [2019年06月05日(Wed)]

UK-Japan Global Seminar Final Report.jpg 

The final report of the UK-Japan Global Seminar series.

The UK and Japan: Forging a Global and Proactive Partnership (PDF)

As I took part in an event in London on May 29 to release the final report on the UK-Japan Global Seminar series, it occurred to me that there is a possibility for a new Anglo-Japanese alliance, this time, to work together to confront global and regional challenges.

The report, titled “The UK and Japan: Forging a Global and Proactive Partnership,” is the culmination of a five-year project that The Nippon Foundation embarked on in 2013 in partnership with the Royal Institute of International Affairs, known as Chatham House, and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation to explore how the two countries can work together more effectively to address a number of critical challenges that the world is facing.

To this end, the project convened a series of high-profile annual conferences, held alternately in London and Tokyo, as well as numerous workshops and discussion seminars from 2013 to 2017.

In the early 1900s, Japan and the United Kingdom were tightly bound by the Anglo-Japanese Alliance to assist one another in safeguarding their respective interests.

And today, in an era of great uncertainty, the report has led me to think that we might even explore the possibility of a new Anglo-Japanese Alliance, this time to expand and deepen cooperation to confront challenges facing the entire globe. I do hope the two countries will consider reestablishing a new, strong and future-oriented bilateral relationship on the basis of our five years of discussions.

I think we can be optimistic as the report stressed how, rhetorically at least, via Britain’s commitment to a “Global Britain” and Japan’s “proactive pursuit of peace”, both countries have demonstrated their willingness to remain fully engaged in international affairs, at a time when the United States appears to be withdrawing from its traditional role as a guarantor of international stability.

I agree with the authors of the report that possible areas of closer bilateral cooperation should focus on sustaining the rules-based international order and enhancing security in the Asia-Pacific region, especially by addressing the nuclear threat from North Korea, minimizing security risks in the East China Sea and South China Sea, and fostering greater joint defense cooperation as well as bolstering economic cooperation.

On the defense front, I might note that Japan-UK security cooperation has made significant progress since 2017 in the framework of the regular two-plus-two meetings of the foreign and defense ministers of both countries, and Tokyo’s free and open Indo-Pacific strategy.

Over the five-year period of the Global Seminar series, a total of about 100 experts and analysts from not only Japan and the United Kingdom, but also other countries participated.

I would like to express my deep appreciation to all of them for their cutting-edge research on pressing global issues. They have built a prominent international community of intellectual leaders.

It is my hope that the final report will contribute to a deeper interest and understanding of these global challenges among policymakers, researchers, the media and the general public, and serve as a basis for further dialogue in the future.

In closing, let me extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone at Chatham House - especially Director Robin Niblett - and to my friends and colleagues at the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation for their hard work to make this Global Seminar series such a success.

Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 14:42 | FORGING GLOBAL TIES | URL | comment(0)
Joy of Meeting with Scholarship Alumni from Around the World [2019年05月31日(Fri)]

The Nippon Foundation is funding a two-year graduate program for Japanese and Southeast Asian students to receive a Master of Arts in International Peace Studies from the University for Peace in Costa Rica. The program, called the Asian Peacebuilders Scholarship (APS), has the academic collaboration of Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, where students first take an introductory English training module and courses related to Asian studies


In the 14 years since it was launched, a total of 291 students from Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar have completed the program, and now work for the United Nations, other international organizations, government agencies and NGOs.

As you may be aware, The Nippon Foundation providesa wide variety of scholarships to students around the world. The Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) has bestowed fellowshipson about 16,000 people at 69 universities in 44 countries. We have supported 611 graduates from theWorld Maritime University of Sweden as well as 1,290 students from 143 countries who studied at international maritime and ocean-related institutions across the globe. We have also provided scholarships to 1,600 students with disabilities from some 40 countries to help them study in the United States, Hong Kong and Southeast Asian nations. Under the Japan-China Sasakawa Medical Fellowship program launched in 1986, more than 2,300 Chinese medical professionals have come to Japanto attend Japanese medical universities and learn the latest in medical technology with many of them now serving in key positions in Chinese medical circles.

Having supported all these students and fellows from around the world, it gives me a great pleasure when I travel overseas and unexpectedly run into

alumni who are now working actively in their respective countries.

For example, in my capacity as the Special Envoy of the Government of Japan for National Reconciliation in Myanmar, I work with the government of Myanmar and ethnic armed organizations (EAO) to build confidence in the peace process.

During my recent visit to the region, I met with representatives of an influential citizens’ group to discuss providing humanitarian assistance to internally displayed persons (IDP) in conflict-affected communities, seizing the opportunity of a unilateral ceasefire declared by the Myanmar military.

All of a sudden, a young lady who was accompanying the delegation came forward and said: “Mr. Sasakawa, I have met you before. I took the master’s course at Ateneo de Manila University in Manila with The Nippon Foundation scholarship.” 

What a pleasant surprise! The recipient of an APS fellowship, she wasfrom an ethnic minority in one of Myanmar’s conflict-affected areas. Thanks to her presence, our talks went so well that we agreed to provide the first batch of IDP assistance worth 30 million yen.

Though EAO representatives are usually very skeptical, she made them trust The Nippon Foundation unconditionally.

*For more information on the APS prgram, please click HERE.


Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | FORGING GLOBAL TIES | URL | comment(0)
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