Awards Ceremony for Sasakawa Fellows, Saturday 1 November 2014
A lasting tradition during WMU’s “Graduation season” is the Awards Ceremony hosted by the Ocean Policy Research Foundation (OPRF) for its graduating fellows. This year the Ceremony was held on Graduation Eve, Saturday 1st November, as usual in the imposing “Fridhemsborg” mansion overlooking the Oresund with Copenhagen beyond: a fitting and dignified location for such an important occasion.
The Class of 2014 includes 22 students whose studies at WMU were funded through the generosity of The Nippon Foundation/OPRF. The students come from 16 different countries: Algeria, Bangladesh, Colombia, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Liberia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam. All were gathered, excited and a little nervous as the proceedings began.
Mr Kudo, Special Advisor of the OPRF, opened the programme by welcoming all the guests, in particular Mr Sekimizu, Chancellor and Secretary-General of the IMO, Acting WMU President Bellefontaine and Mrs Bellefontaine, Mr Unno, Executive Director of The Nippon Foundation and Mr Leif Almo, Honorary Consul of Japan and his wife. The OPRF was also very happy to welcome several dignitaries from IMO and University Governors, as well as guests who would be honoured with special awards at the Graduation ceremony the following day: Professor Charles Cushing who would receive an Honorary Doctorate, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry who was to be made an Honorary Fellow, and H.E. Ambassador Dwight Gardiner and Vice-Admiral Rodolfo Isorena who were to be named Outstanding Alumni. Naturally, OPRF-funded students from the Class of 2015 and WMU staff were also warmly welcomed, as were the family members who had accompanied the graduating students to the reception.
Mr Unno addressed the graduating students, congratulating them on the completion of their studies and welcoming them to the “family” of Sasakawa Fellows. He delighted the company by saying “Congratulations” in all 16 languages spoken in the students’ home countries. The certificates were then presented individually to each graduating student.
All the guests were then invited to help themselves from the generous buffet, a delightful mix of Japanese specialities such as sushi and a number of European dishes. Chatter and laughter filled the room, as well as cries of “one more, one more” as cameras snapped to capture special moments to be remembered. At last it was time for a vote of thanks from one of the graduating students, Ms Ore Ovia Toua from Papua New Guinea.
Ms Ovia Toua noted with appreciation the wonderful support every student had received from OPRF staff, WMU faculty and staff, and of course from the host city of Malmo. The students could look forward to their new status as Fellows, anticipating the support and encouragement of a remarkable network of over 500 Sasakawa Fellows around the world. The benefits of the support offered by The Nippon Foundation extend far beyond Graduation and will continue to assist the Fellows in their future careers for many years to come.
The reception ended in excited anticipation of the big day to follow. On behalf of all the guests who were present, I would like to extend sincere thanks to The Nippon Foundation and the OPRF for a memorable evening.
Assistant Registrar (Student Services)
World Maritime University