Nov 26, 2020

Sharing COVID Experiences through Virtual Meetings

The Sylff Association secretariat hosted its first virtual Sylff fellows’ meetings on October 27 and November 6 (Japan time) with the participation of fellows who received COVID-19 relief this summer. The meetings were an opportunity for pre-registered participants from around the world to get together online and share their experiences.


Group photo on October 27.

Group photo on November 6.

With the facilitation of secretariat members, fellows described how they are coping with the difficulties and challenges caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 and exchanged views on what new measures would facilitate their academic research and leaderships development initiatives during the pandemic.

Many participants commented that COVID-19 relief was a source of both financial and moral support that promoted a sense of belonging to the Sylff community. They had been concerned about disruptions to their research, with many being forced to change their data collection methods. Suggestions for additional Sylff support included new sources of research funding, mentorship and networking opportunities among current and graduated fellows, and theme-based virtual meetings.

The meeting “was perfectly organized and managed . . . so that we could express ourselves,” one fellow said on the feedback sheet. “The atmosphere was safe, welcoming and engaging. I met the Sylff fellows from all around the world and could share my research topic and exchange our views. I realized that I was not alone in this delicate situation of pandemic and that we can all together search for solutions.”

“I would most certainly recommend this kind of meeting because they help build a strong community of fellows,” another said. “Fruitful dialogue can lead to great ideas that bring positive changes to this world.”

The secretariat, too, was happy to meet the fellows online and to hear their views directly. We are currently reexamining our support programs in order to better respond to their needs under the pandemic. Please look for announcements of future events and new Sylff initiatives on the Sylff website.