Orientation Gathering 2019: Insights and Inspiration
For the academic year 2019/2020, 28 students from 23 countries received the wonderful news that they had been chosen to receive Sasakawa Fellowships, offering invaluable support for education in the specializations offered by the World Maritime University: Maritime Education & Training, Maritime Energy Management, Maritime Law & Policy, Maritime Safety & Environmental Administration, Ocean Sustainability, Governance & Management, Port Management, Shipping Management & Logistics. I was one of the lucky ones to be chosen.
To start the year, the Nippon Foundation once more kept up its admirable practice of holding an “Orientation Gathering” meeting of Sasakawa Fellowship students of the World Maritime University early in the Foundation term. The intention is to unite the fellowship holders enrolled in the two Classes current at the University: in our case, students of the 2019/2020 and 2018/2019 academic years. These meetings have become traditional and they are looked forward to both by beginners and those who, thanks to the generous support of the Nippon Foundation, will graduate this year.
The meeting for our Class of fellowship-holders took place on September 20, 2019 in the Sasakawa Auditorium of the World Maritime University and was attended by representatives of the Nippon Foundation.
Mr. Eisuke Kudo, Advisor for the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF), emphasised that networking among the graduates is one of the main aims of the Sasakawa Fellowship programme. This avenue of support even after graduation from WMU gives graduates the opportunity to exchange experiences and advice, often leading to success, promotion and a real opportunity to influence the development of the maritime sector.
Mr. Eisuke Kudo’s following words were especially memorable: “You should be always proud of yourself to be chosen as one of the successful recipients, and we expect you to perform well from your education at WMU”, he said.
During the orientation meeting, current students of the Class of 2019 held very informative presentations for newcomers about the seven MSc specializations in Maritime Affairs, as well as shared experiences of studying at WMU. What experiences they have had! They paid particular attention to the visits that they had an opportunity to take part in with the support of Nippon Foundation, including an especially memorable visit to Japan in May 2019. To be able to see at first hand the way sections of the maritime sector are developing in Japan seems to have been a remarkable opportunity for the students. Our group is already looking forward to its journey to Japan and the inspiration we will gain from the experience.
Mr. Takeshi Mizunari, Research Fellow, Ocean Education Division, Policy Research Department of SPF, introduced the students to the main areas of activities of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and the Nippon Foundation, and also described future goals for development for the programme’s website, which will certainly have a positive effect on the Sasakawa Fellows’ Network. He gave a clear and detailed description of the vision of the Sasakawa Fellowship programme, which is to develop and maintain professional and social international interaction. Many students were surprised that boat racing contributes to the funding of their fellowship! In conclusion, Mr. Takeshi Mizunari invited students to fill in the information in their personal profiles, thus creating a smart platform for rallying the community of Sasakawa alumni, and enabling interaction.
Students of the Class of 2020, with the warm support of students of the 2019 Class, were given an opportunity to introduce themselves, their countries and specializations.
Of course, the most memorable moment of the meeting was the reception organized by the Nippon Foundation in the WMU World Bistro. WMU President, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, thanked the Nippon Foundation for its extraordinary and ongoing support for maritime capacity building through providing fellowships to WMU students. She also emphasized the importance of cooperation with the Nippon Foundation in the sphere of the promotion of maritime education in developing countries, and congratulated the newly enrolled students on joining the World Maritime University and Nippon Foundation families.
There was a wonderful friendly atmosphere at the reception. Amongst the cheerful babble of talking and socializing, students had a great opportunity to meet, share experiences, make friends as well as taste the wonderful dishes specially prepared by the staff of the WMU World Bistro. WMU President, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, Mr. Eisuke Kudo, Mr. Takeshi Mizunari, WMU professors and representatives of WMU staff also joined in the friendly interaction with students. This undoubtedly helped new students to feel welcome and honoured in joining an elite group of maritime professionals, gifted with the opportunity to get one of the best world maritime educations through the support of the Nippon Foundation.
The Orientation meeting left only the best impressions. We are looking forward to our future at WMU and our continued interaction with the Nippon Foundation, with great hope, enthusiasm and gratitude.