Dec 16, 2020
The Sylff Association secretariat organized an online ceremony to confirm new fellows in China and hear presentations by one representative each from the 10 Sylff institutions in the country. The institutions are Fudan, Jilin, Lanzhou, Nanjing, Peking, Chongqing, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Yunnan, and Sun Yat-sen Universities. Reports were also made by board and steering committee members.
Among the guests invited to the meeting were newly appointed General Secretary of China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE) Wang Yongli and other association members. The CEAIE works with the Sylff Association secretariat to help the 10 Chinese Sylff institutions implement and improve the Sylff program at each institution.
Chairman Yohei Sasakawa of the Sylff Association and The Nippon Foundation thanked the universities in his opening remarks for soundly and prudently implementing the Sylff program since its launch in China in 1992 (at the first five universities above) and 1994 (at the other five). Noting the country’s tremendous growth over the past three decades, he emphasized the need to update the Sylff program to match the current state of China’s society and economy, calling for the generous provision of fellowship to a few, exceptional students, rather than smaller stipends to a large number of fellows.
Wang Yongli concurred, saying that the CEAIE will cooperate with the 10 institutions toward the goal of making the Sylff program in China more selective.
Mari Suzuki, a member of the Sylff Association secretariat and Executive Director of the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, encouraged Sylff fellows to participate actively in the global Sylff community by taking full advantage of the support programs and networking initiatives offered by the secretariat.
Representatives from the 10 institutions then explained their selection procedures and results for 2020, with all institutions confirming that the process was competitive, fair, open, and rigid. This was followed by presentations by one Sylff fellow each from the 10 universities. They detailed their academic and social engagement achievements to date and vowed to make a contribution to society in the future.
The fellows were all outstanding students, many of them being recipients of governmental and other global fellowships. The Nanjing fellow was a poet and read one of his works during the meeting. And the fellow from Sun Yat-sen related an episode of having worked as a volunteer at a Hansen’s disease facility. Others echoed Sylff’s founding concept of regarding the world as one family, with all of humankind being brothers and sisters, and of taking the initiative to promote international understanding and world peace.
The ceremony will continue to be held annually to strengthen ties among all stakeholders involved in the operation of the Sylff program in China.