The orientation event for new Sasakawa Fellowship recipients took place on 23rd September 2016, in the Sasakawa Auditorium at the World Maritime University (WMU). Annually, the outgoing fellows are given the opportunity to welcome the new recipients. The occasion was very important, as it supports one of the core aims of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF), which is to foster integration among fellows in a network that promotes and facilitates lifelong communication. Fifty fellows were in attendance; 21 from the class of 2016 and 29 newbies form the class of 2017.
The evening programme begun with a group photograph outside the World Maritime University. After which, Mr. Eisuke Kudo (Advisor to the Sasakawa Peace Foundation) and Mr. Shinichi Ichikawa, (Manager of the Ocean Research and Development, Japan) formally addressed the event. Mr. Kudo’s warm words of welcome and encouragement were well appreciated. He also brought greetings from Dr. Yohei Sasakawa, our benevolent benefactor.
Mr. Ichikawa followed with a very informative presentation on the SPF and the Nippon Foundation. He highlighted the functions of both entities and further explained how they work together to deliver the fellowship program. In addition, he gave us an insight on how ‘boat racing’ contributes to the funding of the fellowship. He also presented a graphic description of the vision behind the Sasakawa fellows’ network, which is to develop and maintain professional and social relationships among fellows, independent of those activities cultivated by SPF.
The class of 2016 was then given an opportunity to share their experiences at WMU. Presentations were made by representatives from the different course specializations. Namely, Maritime Education & Training, Shipping Management & Logistics, Port Management, Maritime Law & Policy, and Marine Safety & Environmental Administration. There was no presentation for students specializing in Maritime Energy Management, as they were first group to enroll in this course. An apology was therefore given in that regard.
They further shared valuable suggestions and practical recommendations for coping with our studies and life in Malmo. However, the highlight of all their accounts, was the coveted trip to Japan, where they met with Dr. Sasakawa. Everyone shared how meaningful and memorable the experience had been. We all listened with heightened anticipation and enthusiasm for the day, next year May, when we will make the similar trip.
The presentations was then followed by a discussion facilitated by Mr. John Paul Rodolfo Palattao, Class of 2016 chair, on ways to improve and strengthen the fellowship network. The suggestions made included the use of various online platform for sharing research and business networking. This platform must be independent of the current Facebook page, which is mostly used for social networking. All suggestions were noted for future consideration and Mr. Mohammed Azizul Moula (class of 2017), was tasked with the responsibility to create the 2016/2017 Facebook group page, as it has been done in the previous years.
There-after, as class of 2017 we were invited to do a short introduction, whereby each of us gave details of our country of origin, and our selected specialization at the WMU. This paved the way for the final session of the night, in which we were treated to a lovely dinner. The atmosphere was filled with sounds of pleasantries, chatter and laughter. Indeed, it was a sure sign that we were not only enjoying the food, but was also using the opportunity to create new friendships, that will hopefully transcend our studies at WMU and beyond.
We were also grace with the presence of Ms. Lyndell Lundhal (Assistant Registrar), who works closely with the SPF. We, the new students, were delighted to have her dining with us because she has been a pillar of support from the moment we entered the WMU, both in our curricular and co-curricular activities.
The closing remarks were given by Mr. Afif Armullah, who thanked everyone for attending. He made special mention of the wonderful staff of the World Bistro for their great service and thanked Ms. Lundahl for her continued support. Lastly, he extended gratitude to Mr. Kudo and Mr. Ichikawa for their guidance and support to us. He further sent special thanks to the SPF for their kindness, that provided the life changing opportunity to study at World Maritime University.