Category Archives: News

Sylff@Tokyo: Bulgarian Fellow Investigating Japanese Policy toward the Balkans

June 10, 2022

The Sylff Association secretariat was pleased to receive a visit on May 17, 2022, from Evgeniy Kandilarov, a 2003 Sylff fellowship recipient at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” in Bulgaria and currently a member of the university’s Sylff steering committee.

Having a visitor from abroad was very special for us, given that COVID-related restrictions have yet to be completely lifted.

Kandilarov, second from left, during his visit to the Sylff Association secretariat.

Kandilarov is an associate professor in the Japanese Studies Department at his alma mater and is staying in Tokyo through March 2023 to conduct research on the Japanese government’s policy toward Central and Eastern Europe, with a focus on the Balkans, from the Cold War to today. The research is being funded by the Japan Foundation.

He has published several books relating to his current research topic. During his stay, he hopes to analyze data from documentary sources and conduct interviews with specialists, policy makers, and practitioners to gain a better understanding of the driving factors and goals of Japan’s Balkan policy and the major outcomes of that policy.

During his visit to the secretariat, he also updated us on the recently renewed Sylff Program at Sofia University, which is being managed in an exemplary manner by Kandilarov and other members of the university’s steering committee.

We hope that his stay in Japan proves to be very productive.


Preliminary Registration for Sylff Research Grant (SRG) Now Open

June 1, 2022

Sylff Research Grant (SRG)

The Sylff Association secretariat is pleased to announce the launch of Sylff Research Grant (SRG), aimed at supporting high-quality academic research and career development among doctoral students and recent doctorates amid COVID-related restrictions. The program provides a grant of up to US$5,000 to each successful applicant.

All Sylff fellows who are currently enrolled in a doctoral program at any institution of higher learning or who received a doctorate on or after April 1, 2019, are eligible to apply. SRG may be used to support research conducted between October 15, 2022, and September 30, 2023.

Before submitting a formal application, fellows are required to complete online preliminary registration procedures before 11:59 p.m., June 30, 2022 (Japan Standard Time). Please carefully read the Call for Applications for details on eligibility, research activities for which the grant can be used, and application requirements and schedule.

We hope that eligible fellows will make most of this opportunity to advance their research activities. We look forward to receiving your application.


Sylff Orientation FY2022 for the Institute of Political Education “Pedro Arrupe”

April 27, 2022

—Sylff Steering Committee, Institute of Political Education “Pedro Arrupe”
• Giovanni Notari, SJ, Director (top row, third from left)
• Massimo Massaro, Sylff Chair (top row, left)
—Sylff Fellows, Institute of Political Education “Pedro Arrupe”
• Zeno Franchini (top row, right), (middle row, left to right) Francesco Montagnani, Danila Taccone, Federico Prestileo, Luca Carmelo Aiello
—Sylff Association Secretariat, Tokyo Foundation
• Mari Suzuki, Executive Director, Tokyo Foundation (top row, second from left)
• Yoko Kaburagi, Program Officer (bottom row, left)
• Maki Shimada, Program Officer (bottom row, right)


An online orientation for the Sylff Program 2022–23 was organized by the Institute of Political Education “Pedro Arrupe” on April 1, 2022, with members of the Sylff Association secretariat attending.

After an introduction to the Sylff Program by the Sylff Association secretariat, the new fellows made presentations of their action-oriented research topics designed to benefit the local community. The Institute’s Sylff program is called the “Idea-Action Research Program,” which provides a framework for fellows to apply scientific ideas to the resolution of real social issues through community engagement The following are their research topics:


Zeno Franchini: The status and effectiveness of inclusion practices in Palermo and how to create the foundations for new forms of activism and political and social struggle

Francesco Montagnani: The marginality in contexts undergoing redevelopment, with an emphasis on the decision-making practices that direct them through the construction of legitimate knowledge of the territory starting from the rearguard

Danila Taccone: Survey on the awareness regarding the rights, skills and vision of the future of girls in the age group 16-30 of a marginal neighborhood of the Palermo area in order to facilitate a process of self-narration based on the use of new technologies

Federico Prestileo: The effects of the change in public space that took place in the village of Sant'Erasmo in Palermo starting from some urban regeneration interventions that have changed its face

Luca Carmelo Aiello: Investment in the civil economy sector, with reference to the management and support of sustainable entrepreneurship paths from an economic and social point of view


The meeting ended with speeches by Mari Suzuki, Executive Director of the Tokyo Foundation, and Father Giovanni Notari, SJ, who both reaffirmed the goals of the Sylff program.

Despite the physical distance between Italy and Japan, the orientation session served as a great opportunity for the Sylff Association secretariat to learn more about the unique features of Institute’s program, notably the alignment of research and action at the grassroots level.

The island of Sicily, where the Institute is located, is one of the most marginalized areas in Italy with high unemployment and poverty rates but also with great potential not fully expressed. Located in the Mediterranean Sea, it is home to a large number of immigrants, contributing to its diversity while at the same time posing the question of their effective integration into local society. Fellows at the Institute are tackling such issues through multiple approaches, including not only academic research but also community action focusing on minority groups.

We hope that the new fellows will take full advantage of the Sylff program to advance their research and social activities and embody the Sylff mission in becoming leaders capable of transcending differences.

Two Jadavpur Fellows Working toward a More Just and Inclusive Society

April 26, 2022

(from left: Payoshni Mitra and Rimple Mehta)

The Sylff Association secretariat is pleased to share wonderful news submitted by two fellows from Jadavpur University in India.

Payoshni Mitra (Photo: IWG Women & Sport)

Payoshni Mitra, a 2005–07 fellow, was appointed the first-ever Chief Executive Officer of the UNESCO-affiliated Global Observatory (GO) for Gender Equity & Sports, newly established in January 2022 in the Olympic capital of Lausanne, Switzerland, to promote gender equity in and through sports.

Mitra is a prominent athlete rights advocate and a gender and sports scholar. She has been fighting for nondiscrimination and inclusion of women athletes for over a decade, addressing human rights violations in sports, influencing important institutional changes, and helping athletes win legal cases.

Read the IWG Women & Sport press release on her appointment:

Another Jadavpur fellow, Rimple Mehta, 2011–13, who is now Lecturer and Associate Dean, International (South and Southeast Asia) of the School of Social Sciences, Western Sydney University, has published Women, Incarcerated: Narratives from India. The book, co-edited with social anthropologist Mahuya Bandyopadhyay, is based on a social action project Mehta undertook on “Carceral Logics and Social Justice: A Dialogue between Practitioners, Scholars and Activists,” supported with a Sylff Leadership Initiatives (SLI) grant.

(photo: Oriental BlackSwan)

Mehta has been researching the issue of women’s imprisonment in India since 2008 when she met Bangladeshi women who had been incarcerated for illegally crossing the border to India. After a decade of research, her work has expanded to advocate against discrimination of women prisoners in the country, which was socially a neglected issue. She has been working to raise awareness of this issue by networking with activists, scholars, social work practitioners, and public administrators, as well as through her widely discussed first book, Women, Mobility and Incarceration.


Congratulations to both fellows for their important achievements, and we wish them even greater success henceforth in realizing their vision for a more just and inclusive society.

COVID Vlogs from 49 Fellows Offer a Snapshot of Pandemic-Affected Lives

April 25, 2022

The Sylff Association secretariat wishes to thank the 49 fellows from 25 universities who participated in the COVID Vlogs project.

All the videos we received were highly illuminating, not only describing the COVID-19 experiences of each fellow in 21 countries but also shedding light on the impact of the coronavirus on their respective communities and potential future global implications, as well as elucidating fellow’s initiatives to be of help to others.

The fellows’ contributions to the COVID Vlogs project will become a repository of valuable lessons from the pandemic and a source of strengths and encouragement for the Sylff community.

*Listed in order of posting date 

Name Sylff Institution Title
Amit Singh University of Coimbra The Call of Duty to Help Humankind
Jan Schulz-Weiling University of Deusto Shifting moral baselines: the Covid crisis is also a values crisis
Jennifer Dysert York University Take Care of Each Other
Noloyiso Vondo University of the Western Cape This Pandemic Too Shall Pass, When It Does We Will Be Stronger
Herve Roland Memiaghe University of Oregon Rethinking International Research under Crises
Keith Tachiana Tashu University of Western Cape Opportunities and Threats of Citizen Participation in Local Governance Due to Covid-19.
Hailay Reda University of Oregon The Impact of COVID-19 on My Dissertation Research
Khaliun Enkhsaikhan National Academy of Governance Pandemic Condition in Mongolia
Cosmo Takagi Keio University Changes Brought About by COVID-19 in Japanese Local Governments
Nhung Nguyen Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific Unniversity Video Message from Nhung Nguyen - APU Fellow
Othman Belkebir Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies Covid and reflexivity on the field
Alex Kihehere University of the Western Cape Worsening the Vulnerabilities of the Vulnerable
Eliska Ullrichova ( 旧姓Cernovska) Charles University PhD Research during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Zuzana Lobling Charles University Rule of Law in Pandemic Times
Rocio Soledad Guajardo University of Chile Going through the Pandemic
Nicholas Michael C. Sy Ateneo de Manila University Savoring Moments amidst Difficulties Here in Manila
Taniya Chakrabarty Jawaharlal Nehru University We Are All in This Together
Gabriele Slizyte Conservatoire national superieur de musique et de danse de Paris Culture and the Role of Community during the Pandemic
Noe Nillni Conservatoire national superieur de musique et de danse de Paris To Reflect on Expanding Our Imagination
Masa Miskovic University of Belgrade Everything Is Possible Even during the Pandemic
Sirarpi Movsisyan University of Leipzig Stay Healthy and Get Vaccinated
Anna Bednarczyk Jagiellonian University Impact of COVID-19 in Argentina
Badamlyankhua Boldbaatar National Academy of Governance I Wish All of You Happy and Healthy New Year!
Ivana Hay Charles University Between Deaf and Hearing Worlds - We Can Do It!
Erni Kurnia Putri Gadjah Mada University COVID as a Revealer of Who We Are
David D. Sussman Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University Perspectives on Teaching in Japan During the COVID-19 Era
Bilal Alnemr Conservatoire national superieur de musique et de danse de Paris A Hope Message for Sylff
Liven Mutokosi University of the Western Cape Implications of COVID-19 to the Academic World
Priyanshi Chauhan Jawaharlal Nehru University This Too Shall Pass!
Rima Amalia Eka Widya Gadjah Mada University Message from Indonesia - Don't Give Up. We Will Soon Recover
Uuriintuya Batjargal National Academy of Governance COVID Pandemic Not Only Changed My Life, Pandemic Changed the Whole World
Leon Poshai University of the Western Cape COVID-19 and the Boom of Technology Based Research
Dorjkhand Sharavjamts National Academy of Governance Don’t Let Pandemic Steal Your Joy
Katrien Belen Ateneo de Manila University Better Days Ahead
Maija-Eliina Sequeira University of Helsinki Finding the Silver Linings in Two Years of COVID
Vivian Castro Villarroel University of Sao Paulo Artistic Research in Pandemic Times
A. Faidlal Rahman Gadjah Mada University New Normal is New Habit of Traveling in Pandemic
Sunil Kumar Jawaharlal Nehru University Never Disconnect!
Carl-Emmanuel Fisbach Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris A Peaceful World without Epidemic?
Zozan Tarhan Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski“ Even in the Darkest of Darkness, There is Always a Light.
Elvisa Frrokaj National and Kapodistrian University of Athens The Impact of COVID-19 in Mental Health: The Situation in Greece
Chifon Godlove Ngek University of the Western Cape Courage, Covid-19 will Soon be Over
Nurlatifah Hartojo University of Indonesia We Can Face this COVID-19 Pandemic Together
Paula Caroline de Oliveira Souza University of São Paulo Social Changes and Vital Responses
Buaban Jesada Gadjah Mada University Being Loyal to the Government: A Case of Covid-19 in Indonesia
Amrit Kour Jawaharlal Nehru University Be Strong, Because Things will Get Better
Karnika Jain Jawaharlal Nehru University The Silver Lining Leading To The Brighter Future
Anwesha Sengupta Jadavpur University Being a Grad-student Mother During a Pandemic!
Roman Cazal Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris The Brightness of Debussy as a Prayer for the End of the Pandemic



New Support Program to Be Launched for Doctoral and Postdoc Fellows

April 18, 2022

The Sylff Association secretariat is pleased to announce its plan to launch Sylff Research Grant (SRG) in June 2022 to provide financial assistance for fellows who are either doctoral students or postdoc researchers.

SRG is aimed at supporting fellows who need to conduct high-quality research with a view to career development despite the restrictions imposed on their activities by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The details are still under development, but SRG will offer grants for academic research conducted by fellows who are currently enrolled in a doctoral program and those who, having received their doctorate within the past three years, are currently conducting postdoc research. To support fellows’ development as socially engaged leaders, SRG will provide assistance for not only academically oriented research but also activities that can be expected to lead to social betterment.

Please look forward to the official announcement of the program’s launch on the Sylff website and through the Sylff newsletter!

Note: The Sylff Association secretariat is not able to answer questions regarding the details of SRG, including eligibility, application procedures, and application documents, until its official launch in June 2022.

Awardees of SRA without Overseas Travel for Fiscal 2021

January 5, 2022

The Sylff Association secretariat is pleased to announce the 11 recipients of SRA without Overseas Travel awards for fiscal 2021 (April 2021 to March 2022). Like last year, this year’s Sylff Research Abroad was modified to accommodate restrictions on international travel due to COVID-related health and security concerns. We were delighted to receive a great number of outstanding applications from fellows all over the world in spite of the current constraints.

We reviewed all applications carefully from the perspectives of eligibility, the feasibility of the proposals, and the relevance of the proposed research to the applicants’ academic pursuits. The awardees were at different stages of their research, some taking advantage of SRA without Overseas Travel to collect fundamental data for their doctoral dissertation, with others using the opportunity to verify their findings and receive further advice from overseas experts.

The secretariat was heartened by the initiative and leadership demonstrated by fellows intent on taking advantage of the support program despite the pandemic-induced setbacks to their research endeavors. We are also grateful to Sylff steering committee members at each Sylff institution for their cooperation in encouraging fellows to apply.

Congratulations to all the awardees! We send them our best wishes and hope the research conducted with this award will be fruitful in advancing their doctoral research. The 11 awardees are as follows:

* Listed in alphabetical order.

Name Sylff Institution   For research to be conducted in

Mia Dragnic

University of Chile


Tamas Dudlak

Hungarian Academy of Sciences



Aliki Gkana

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens


Abdulcelil Kaya Ankara University Germany

Sunil Kumar

Jawaharlal Nehru University

South Korea

Olaniyi Joshua Olabiyi

University of the Western Cape


Sennane Gatakaa Riungu University of Nairobi Ghana

Maija-Eliina Sequeira

University of Helsinki


Riga Shakya Columbia University Taiwan
Nemanja Vuksanovic University of Belgrade Croatia
Mengtai Zhang Columbia University China


Sylff News 2021: Best Wishes for the Holiday Season from the Sylff Association Secretariat!

December 22, 2021

Standing, from left, are Keita Sugai (director), Sachiko Matsuoka, Mari Suzuki (executive director), and Chie Yamamoto; in the front row are Yumi Arai and Maki Shimada; and on the screen are Yue Zhang and Yoko Kaburagi.

As we approach the end of 2021, we take a look back over the past year through Sylff News.

COVID-19 continued to rage in countries around the world, prompting the Sylff Association secretariat to implement a second round of financial support called COVID-19 Relief for Fellows 2021 and introduce Sylff Research Abroad without Oversea Travel for FY2021. We were happy to support many fellows who had a difficult time finding employment or continuing their studies and research. Members of the Sylff community pitched in with donations to support pandemic-affected fellows.

Though we could not meet Sylff fellows in person, we received twice as many articles as last year for the Sylff website (50 Voices articles). Submissions to the Voices from the Pandemic and COVID Vlog series were full of insights and warm thoughts. We look forward to receiving COVID Vlog messages from many more fellows through the end of February 2022.

We wish you all a safe, healthy, and happy New Year.

Follow the links to the Sylff News articles uploaded in 2021:

News from the Sylff Website

Jan 21, 2021
Nairobi Fellow Wins WTO’s Trade Economist Thematic Award

Apr 1, 2021
Sylff to Offer New COVID-19 Relief for Current, Recently Graduated Fellows

Apr 23, 2021
Applications, Donations Now Being Accepted for COVID-19 Relief 2021

Jun 25, 2021
Thank You for Your COVID-19 Relief Donations

Sep 1, 2021
Sylff Research Abroad (SRA) without Oversea Travel Launched for FY2021

Sep 29, 2021
COVID-19 Relief for 2021 Provided to about 300 Current and Recently Graduated Fellows

Oct 22, 2021
Call for COVID Video Messages from Fellows

Dec 13, 2021
Deadline of “COVID Vlogs” Extended to February 2022

Deadline of “COVID Vlogs” Extended to February 2022

December 13, 2021

The Sylff Association secretariat is grateful to all fellows who have shared their experiences, thoughts, and messages concerning COVID-19 through their video clips. They provide new insights into what people in different countries have been experiencing and offer clues to how we can overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic.

There are many fellows who expressed a wish to deliver their messages but were unable do so due to the difficulties caused by the pandemic.

We have thus decided to extend the deadline for COVID Vlog submissions to February 28, 2022. The resurgence of cases and the spread of the Omicron variant are causes of fresh concern, and the need for emotional support has increased. We hope that many more fellows will take this chance to share a video message through this project. Your message will help others overcome the difficulties they are facing in these uncertain times.

Please read the complete instructions (Video Sharing Instructions_updated Dec 13, 2021) before you share your videos.

We look forward to receiving your videos!


Call for COVID Video Messages from Fellows

October 22, 2021

After providing “COVID-19 Relief for Sylff Fellows 2021,” members of the Sylff Association secretariat were left with the impression that while most of us were familiar with the situation in our own country and region, we were reliant on the media for information about other areas. We longed to hear the voices of people from around the world that would give us a clearer idea of and deeper insights into how the pandemic was affecting their lives. 

This was the impetus behind our decision to create a platform for Sylff fellows to share their COVID-related thoughts and firsthand experiences through short video messages. We are hoping to receive up to 100 video clips, including from graduated fellows. They do not have to focus on your field of specialization, but we hope you will include a message to help other fellows cope with COVID-related issues. The videos will be published as “COVID Vlogs” in the Voices from the Sylff Community section of the Sylff website. The deadline for submission is December 10, 2021.

We hope that the vlogs will help fellows connect with other fellows, creating a sense of community and a feeling that the difficulties caused by the pandemic can be overcome by working together. The project is an opportunity for fellows to express themselves and show compassion. We are looking forward to your receiving your videos.

The following is the outline of the instructions for video sharing.
Please read the complete instructions (PDF) before you share your videos.


  1. Creating Your Video
  • LENGTH: 2 minutes or less
  • CONTENT: Your message should include the following three topics:
    1. Short self-introduction, such as your name, affiliation, research area, or activities
    2. Topic related to COVID-19, such as the current situation where you live, how the pandemic has affected you, or your thoughts on the coronavirus, either from a specialist or personal point of view
    3. Message to encourage other fellows around the world. Non-verbal messages, such as a musical performance, are also welcome.
  • SUBMISSION DEADLINE: December 10, 2021


  1. Please Also Submit
  • A TITLE of your video message: Maximum of 12 English words
  • A VISUAL IMAGE to be used as a thumbnail on the Sylff website: JPEG, GIF, or PNG file format; at least 343 × 245 pixels; and a horizontal aspect ratio of 1.4:1
  • BIO: If you don’t have a profile page on the Sylff website yet, send a brief bio and portrait photo (a head shot, preferably of over 350 × 350 pixels). A profile template is available at A link to your video will be also posted on your profile page.


  1. How to Share

Submit your videos through Google Drive only. Please do not send by email.

First create a folder containing the video, visual image, short bio, and portrait photo. Be sure the name of the folder and each file contains your name and the name of your Sylff institution (e.g., James White_ABC University) so we know who submitted the data.

Type in the title of your video in the “Message” section of Google Drive. Refer to the complete instructions (PDF) for details.

Please note that the business edition of Google Workspace used to receive your videos has enhanced data protection and security.


  1. Miscellaneous

By submitting your video, you agree that the Sylff Association secretariat may use your video for the purpose of promoting the Sylff Program, such as by uploading it on the Sylff YouTube channel and featuring it in other promotional media owned by the Sylff Association secretariat.

The copyright belongs to the video producer. The Sylff Association secretariat will remove the video from the Sylff website and other media channels if the video producer expresses such a wish, in writing, to the secretariat.

The Sylff Association secretariat reserves the right not to publish videos that are deemed to show lack of tolerance for any group on the basis of their race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, age, religion, culture, or disability.

It is the video producer’s responsibility to obtain permission, when required, for the use of materials created by others, including visual images.



Please send email with [COVID Vlog] in the subject line to:

*This email address is used to receive your videos.
Do NOT send your data to