The beautiful Fridhemsborg mansion was once again this year the impressive venue for the annual award ceremony for graduating Sasakawa Fellows. Friday, 22 November 2013 saw the 23 graduands, fellow Sasakawa students in their first year, University faculty, staff and distinguished guests gather for the traditional ceremony.
Representing The Nippon Foundation/Ocean Policy Research Foundation at the ceremony were Mitsuyuki Unno, Executive Director of The Nippon Foundation, Eisuke Kudo, Special Advisor of the OPRF, Shinichi Ichikawa, Section Chief of the Maritime Affairs Division of the Maritime Technology Department of OPRF, and Tomoyuki Hashimoto, Manager, Maritime Safety & Education Team, Maritime Affairs Department of The Nippon Foundation. The Ceremony was also attended by the Mayor of Malmo, Mr Kent Andersson and his wife, and leading University faculty and staff was President Bjorn Kjerfve.
Mr Unno addressed the graduands, encouraging them in their new role as Sasakawa Fellows. The network they now joined epitomized The Nippon Foundation's core goal of social innovation to achieve mutual support. Sharing experiences, knowledge and support would enable new Fellows to work as agents of change in their home countries and in the maritime industry. Continuing help and involvement from the Nippon Foundation was pledged to its new "family members".
Responding on behalf of the students, Amr Moneer Ibrahim from Egypt noted some of the differences between the graduands: a lawyer from the Solomon Islands, a Coast Guard Officer from Argentina, a university lecturer from Egypt. What they now had in common - thanks to the support received from the Nippon Foundation - was a wealth of experience from the World Maritime University, a network of friends and colleagues all over the world and a "family base" as Sasakawa fellows to help and support each other in the future. It was a responsibility they would gladly shoulder. "We are the latest gear in the Sasakawa Fellows train", he said, encouraging his fellow graduands to remain active in the mother network, the Friends of WMU, Japan.
The 23 graduands received their certificates to great applause. The ceremony was particularly significant as the 23 new Fellows brought the total number of WMU graduates directly sponsored by the Nippon Foundaton to 511. It was agreed we should look forward to the next 500!
A Japanese - style buffet dinner followed, allowing the graduands the opportunity to meet and chat with the distinguished guests, their junior student colleagues and WMU faculty and staff members. The friendly atmosphere was punctuated by the clinking of glasses as the graduands were congratulated and wished good luck, and by the ubiquitous "one more! one more!" as cameras flashed to record the moment.
Another successful group of Sasakawa Fellows; another Graduation. New opportunities to share the future.
Student Services Officer
World Maritime University