"The world is a family, and all humankind are brothers and sisters". This philosophy was first adopted by Ryoishi Sasakawa and it now hallmarks all the endeavours of the Nippon Foundation, of which the Ocean Policy Research Foundation is such a significant part. Enabling real change in the world – in this case, in the maritime industry in developing nations – through support to promising young individuals is achieved not just through providing an education, but also by embracing them into the family of Sasakawa fellows.
These important relationships begin as soon as an OPRF-supported student begins his or her study at the World Maritime University and they are encouraged in many ways. One of the first and most significant of these is the “Gathering Orientation with Sasakawa Fellowship” that occurs soon after the start of each academic year. The aim is to ensure that all Sasakawa-sponsored students at the World Maritime University – both seniors and juniors - recognize each other as Sasakawa colleagues so that they can build a firm foundation for their future interaction.
This year's Gathering Orientation was held at WMU on 27 September 2013. Students from the Classes of 2013 and 2014 first attended a presentation in the C P Srivastava Hall chaired by Mr Shinichi Ichikawa, where they were welcomed by the OPRF’s Special Advisor, Mr Eisuke Kudo. Mr Ichikawa then continued by giving a presentation on the basic activities of the Nippon Foundation, the Ocean Policy Research Foundation and Japan Motorboat Racing.
The session then continued with presentations by senior students on the various specializations followed by Sasakawa students: Igor Pishenin spoke on Maritime Education and Training, Hiep Duy Khuong outlined the Shipping and Port Management courses, Eugene Tomas Amaazee spoke about the Maritime Law and Policy specialization while Jenay Ghebremariam presented the Maritime Safety and Environmental Administration course. This gave the newcomers the student perspective on many of the broad range of fields of study available at the World Maritime University.
A reception followed this information session. Held in one of the conference rooms, Sasakawa students and University staff enjoyed a friendly evening together, chatting, getting to know each other and swapping stories. The reception began with each of the students introducing themselves in an informal way: many nicknames were quickly exchanged!
After some delicious food and drink, Ms Syovata (Fiona) Mbandi made a short speech, representing the senior students. She reflected on her time at WMU which was soon to come to a close: how much she and her fellow Sasakawa colleagues had gained from their studies and the relationships they had formed. She also stressed – now towards the end of their studies – that senior students were most of all thankful: thankful for the knowledge they had gained, for the friendships they had made, for the help and support of University staff and last but most certainly not least, the support of the Nippon Foundation and the Ocean Policy Research Foundation which had made it all possible. She looked forward to the continuing relationships – both personal friendships and professional contacts – enabled by her Sasakawa sponsorship.
President Bjorn Kjerfve joined the Reception, also enjoying the opportunity to greet all the Sasakawa students. As is usual at any World Maritime University event, there were many, many cameras used to record the occasion and cries of "one more! one more!" rang out as groups posed in various constellations with President Kjerfve, Mr Kudo and Mr Ichikawa.
It was a very happy occasion and one that marks the beginning of a new set of friendships linking the newest Sasakawa students to a long chain of students, graduates and fellows in the Sasakawa family.
Student Services Officer
World Maritime University