Feb 19, 2024

A Visit to the Multicultural Campus of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

On January 19, 2024, three members of the Sylff Association secretariat visited Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU), located on the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands.

APU President Yoneyama, left, and Executive Director Suzuki.

The visit began with a meeting between Tokyo Foundation Executive Director Mari Suzuki and newly appointed APU President Hiroshi Yoneyama, who described the various measures APU took to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and expressed his delight to see students actively interacting with one another on campus again. Members of the Sylff Association secretariat toured the Green Commons, the beautiful new academic building on the APU campus.

The meeting with the APU Sylff Steering Committee was attended by Vice President Satoshi Kawazoe; Professor Lailani Alcantara, dean of the School of Management; Director-General Yoshiki Osawa; Katsuya Sakai, director of the Finance Department at Ritsumeikan Trust; Deputy Director Keisuke Yamashita; and Michiko Nakamura and Asako Miyashita of the Student Office. This was the first on-site SSC meeting at APU in five years due to travel restrictions during the pandemic.

Vice President Kawazoe highlighted the unique, multicultural campus environment of APU, attended by students from 107 countries/regions. During the review of the Sylff program at the university, members of the SSC and the Sylff Association secretariat exchanged views on the selection of new Sylff fellows.

Eylla Gutierrez, center, and Alexander Dobrian, second from right, with members of the Sylff Association secretariat.

Members of the secretariat also had a chance to meet two fellows: Eylla Laire Gutierrez, enrolled in a doctoral program, and Alexander Dobrian, pursuing an MBA—both selected for a Sylff fellowship in 2023. In their presentations, they spoke with passion about their respective research topics and commitment to creating real-world impact through their expertise.

Gutierrez was recently awarded the first prize in a national essay contest for international students in Japan, hosted by the Foundation for the Advancement of Life & Insurance Around the World (FALIA Essay Competition 2023). Her winning essay echoed her doctoral research, focused on the empowerment of women in her native Philippines. We are delighted with her achievement and proud to have such outstanding fellows in the Sylff community.

Gutierrez at the awarding ceremony of FALIA Essay Competition 2023.

This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of the Sylff program at APU. We are grateful for this fruitful partnership and look forward to the emergence of many more young leaders from APU.