Award Ceremony

Award Ceremony for Sasakawa Fellows 2017

Sasakawa Awards 2017 - A New Beginning
Saturday 4 November 2017

In September 2016, we enthusiastically entered the WMU building as students, meeting new colleagues from around the globe, looking forward to what life in Malmö would offer. As we greeted each other, some of us had the opportunity to say “You are a Sasakawa Fellow like me”. Fourteen months later, the Sasakawa Fellows of 2017 gathered again, this time enthusiastically being awarded for their successful achievements in their studies. 

On November 4, 2017, the annual Sasakawa award ceremony was held in Malmö on the WMU premises. Present at the event were representatives from The Nippon Foundation, Mr. Mitsuyuki Unno, Executive Director; Mr. Tsutomu Akita, the Senior Specialist for SPF; Mr. Shinichi Ichikawa, Manager of the Ocean Research and Development Department at SPF, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, president of WMU; along with Nippon Foundation members and staff of WMU, Sasakawa students from 2018, the newly graduated Sasakawa Fellows and their families. Other distinguished guests were also present from the university and the SPF. 

Several remarks were made during the speeches about the class of 2017. Dr. Doumbia-Henry highlighted the effort that the SPF does in providing scholarships to students, 27 in all for the graduating class. This year several other records were noted, with more than 40% of the students being female. The president also mentioned that during our academic year, the Nippon Foundation contributed to the initiation of an oceans institute. 
Mr. Unno, congratulated the new Sasakawa Fellows, mentioning that with the new technologies available to use in the maritime industry, “In this new environment, we will need to strike a balance between safety, innovation, and sustainability”. Addressing the new graduates, “You will set sail to seize new opportunities on your professional voyage, making a lasting contribution towards the sustainability of our oceans”. He stated that The Nippon Foundation would be supportive, like in the past, in bringing forward new initiatives for discussion.

Following these speeches, the award presentation took place. The graduating students were presented with a Friends of WMU, Japan certificate for successfully completing the MSc course and being granted membership to the Sasakawa Fellowship. The motto written on the certificate, “The world is a family, and all humankind are brothers and sisters” has inspired us and will help us guide those that follow.
As the ceremony came to an end, attendants gathered at the World Bistro for a delicious buffet, prepared for us by Niclas, Nikola and their team. They deserve accolades for providing us tasteful and healthy food throughout our studies at WMU. But they outdid themselves on this special event with a taste of Japanese cuisine, making it different from our daily fare. Photo taken by Mr. Ichikawa, Wael Abdulbaqi and Maia Nilsson will be treasured memories throughout our lives. It was also exciting to meet the new students, who have started settling into the WMU system, and discuss with them our experiences. Last but not least, it was an opportunity for us graduates to meet officially with representatives from the SPF and thank them, discusing our future in our careers and being congratulated individually for our achievements.

Mr. Mohmmed Shahnawaz from India, a great friend, gave a spontaneous closing speech, mentioning the good moments we shared together as Sasakawa students, making us think about the wonderful year we had together and how we can now make a difference. A difference through the new knowledge we absorbed, a global network of WMU alumni, and us 27 students who now form part of the growing WMU Sasakawa Fellows, 581 members from a total of 69 countries.

This event, a celebration of achievement during 14 months of hard work, is not the end of a journey, but a new beginning towards a better future for the maritime industry in our countries, with us  implementing the knowledge we gained.

Mark Philip Cassar
(Malta, Class of 2017)