A program that has nurtured 180 PhD students from the Australian School of Business to become leaders in the global community recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with its valued donors, The Nippon Foundation and the Tokyo Foundation, making rare visits to Australia.
Mr Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon Foundation and Mr Suzuki, Director of the Tokyo Foundation joined staff at the Australian School of Business as well as some Scholarship recipients at a celebratory lunch event on June 29 to mark the twenty year milestone.
Established in 1987, the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) became involved with the then Australian Graduate School of Management at UNSW in 1991 with a donation of one million US dollars.
Mr Sasakawa described the mission of the Sylff program "to nurture dedicated young leaders who can face up to global challenges and devise workable solutions for them. It is a program that seeks out people who see the world from a global point of view, who possess a strong sense of purpose, and have the potential to become a powerful force in their various fields. The program provides the necessary knowledge, skill and experience so that they may one day become leaders of their community and the global society at large."
He continued "I am hoping you will move forward to tackle the social problems around you, and demonstrate the leadership needed to better our society. And when you exercise your leadership, I ask that you set a goal that is bigger than yourself; in other words, your goal must be to achieve a higher cause."
At the lunch event, Sylff scholarship recipients, including current students and some Australian School of Business faculty members, shared with guests a summary of their current research work and described how the scholarship had influenced and enhanced their work. More than just a research scholarship, the Sylff program connects researchers to the 13,000 strong Sylff community worldwide from 69 universities and consortia in 44 countries.
Professor Alec Cameron, Dean of the Australian School of Business, described the impact of the Sylff scholarships as reaching far beyond the research candidates they support. “It has enabled us to attract the very best research students who upon completion of their doctorate go on to influential positions in universities, government bodies, not-for-profit organisations and businesses in Australia and internationally.”
Both Mr Saskawa and Professor Cameron acknowledged the recent tragic events that took place in Japan. The ongoing impact on the Japanese people and the importance of friendship and support between the two countries was deeply felt.
Professor Cameron announced that the School would offer a scholarship to a Japanese student affected by the disaster to come here to study in Sydney. “We would like to work with the Foundation to determine how we might move this forward. In a small way we hope we can make a contribution to the effective recovery of Japan and also pay thanks for your generosity.”
The Sylff Program is a collaborative undertaking of the three parties: The Nippon Foundation, which donated the original fund, the Tokyo Foundation , responsible for overall program management, and the Sylff universities, including UNSW which operates the actual fellowship program.