One of the most eagerly-anticipated events during "Graduation Week" is the reception hosted by the Ocean Policy Research Foundation (OPRF) to honour the graduating students whose studies have been sponsored by the Sasakawa Fellowship Programme. The reception is held in the magnificent Fridhemsborg mansion, this year with its trees and grounds beautifully lit for the Christmas season.
Mr Eisuke Kudo, Mr Eiji Sakai and Mr Shinichi Ichikawa of the OPRF greeted their guests warmly and in his speech to open the proceedings, Mr Kudo welcomed in particular the many distinguished that were present, including WMU President Dr Bjorn Kjerfve, The Mayor of Malmo and Chairman of the Malmo City Board, Mr Kent Andersson and his wife Ms Monica Blomberg, Mr Zhu Jianxin, Director of the Technical Co-operation Division, IMO, the Honorary Consul of Japan in Malmo, Mr Leif Almo, and Member of the WMU Board of Governors, Rev. Tom Heffer, Secretary-General of the Mission to Seafarers, London.
Mr Mitsuyuki Unno, Executive Director of the Nippon Foundation, addressed the students in a very personal way, congratulating them on their hard work and fine achievement in attaining their Master of Science degree, urging them to put their new knowledge to good use in their careers. They were also warmly encouraged to remain active in the “family” of Sasakawa fellows and to utilize the network of maritime colleagues this gave them around the world.
The graduands were then each awarded a certificate and gift to mark their transition from student to member of the Friends of WMU, Japan. Ms Nyein Ei Phyu from Myanmar made a speech on behalf of the graduating Sasakawa fellows, acknowledging the kind support of The Nippon Foundation and the Ocean Policy Research Foundation, and expressing gratitude for the many ways in which the Sasakawa fellows are assisted both during their studies and after their graduation from WMU. She promised that the 2011 graduates would indeed remain very much a part of the Sasakawa family in the future.
The Japanese-style buffet dinner that followed was greatly enjoyed by all, as was the opportunity for the graduating students to meet and chat with the distinguished guests, their junior student colleagues and members of the WMU staff. During this part of the evening, two host families were introduced to Mr Kudo, who thanked them for their interest in the students and their efforts to make them feel at home during their studies in Malmo.
All too soon it was time to leave the warmth of a very successful reception and to brave the cold December weather. Many thanks indeed to the OPRF for a wonderful evening.