Gathering Orientation

Orientation Gathering 2023: Planting the Seeds for the Network

Gathering Orientation 2023 took place on a sunny evening on September 15th, where Sasakawa Fellowship Students from the Classes of 2023 and 2024 met for the first time.

The orientation session, led by Takanori Uzumaki (Japan, 2023) and Daiki Maeno (Japan, 2023), was held in the Sasakawa Auditorium after the taking of group photos outside the entrance of the WMU building, which evokes a sense of both history and modernity, under the beautiful autumn sky.

Following warm words by Mr. Uzumaki, Mr. Eisuke Kudo, Senior Advisor to the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, delivered a humorous selfintroduction and explained the purpose of this orientation during his opening remarks. At the end of his remarks, he also introduced the motto of Dr. Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation and Chairman of Friends of WMU, Japan, “One World, One Family,” and expressed his hope that the friendships built at WMU will continue forever.

The orientation began with Ms. Emi Shimada from the Friends of WMU, Japan Secretariat explaining the content of the Sasakawa Scholarship Program, the role of the secretariat, the relationship between The Nippon Foundation and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, and what is expected of the students.

Subsequently, there were presentations introducing each specialization from the Class of 2023. These were given by senior students from the Class of 2023 in a humorous manner, with the students saying, “My major is the best!” They also shared valuable information with the Class of 2024, including insights into field studies, assignments, and tips not found in brochures. The Class of 2024 members paid close attention to the presentations, occasionally breaking into laughter in the welcoming atmosphere fostered by the seniors of the Class of 2023.

Following that, the students each introduced themselves and had a 30-minute conversation about enhancing the Sasakawa Fellows Network, with facilitation by Mr. Uzumaki. Concrete ideas were generated, such as the use of social media and the formation of groups within either the same nation or organization. The discussion was initiated by the Class of 2023, but the Class of 2024 also actively contributed, which resulted in a lively discussion.

After the official program ended, the group moved to the World Bistro, which everyone loves. President Max Mejia’s toast with MC Jorge Alfonso Gómez Prado (Nicaragua, 2023) set the tone for a lively reception that saw many WMU faculty and staff participate.

The students enjoyed delicious food and free-flowing conversation. At the end of the reception, Francesco Leonardo Castiglione Escontrela (Venezuela, 2023), representative of the Class of 2023, and Carlos Manuel Mosquera Athanasiadis (Panama, 2024), representative of the Class of 2024, delivered closing remarks, and the students were encouraged to join the Sasakawa Fellows Network.

We hope that the seeds of the Sasakawa Fellows Network that were planted today will grow into big trees that bear beautiful fruits.

-  Friends of WMU, Japan Secretariat