Sylff Leadership Initiatives

Support Programs and COVID-19 (updated June 6, 2022)

Current and graduated fellows who are committed to taking the small steps that can make a big difference for the benefit of society are encouraged to apply for an SLI grant to undertake initiatives that are aligned with the Sylff mission. The Sylff Association will provide a maximum of US$10,000 per successful project.

  • The Call for Applications (Updated July 2017) is available in PDF file and text versions (below). Please note that the application form and related documents are available in the text version only. Download these documents from the links in section 3 (Application and Selection) on this page.


Call for Applications

1. Sylff Leadership Initiatives

To encourage Sylff fellows to take initiatives that can change society for the better, the Sylff Association provides financial support for two categories of SLI activities: (1) social action projects and (2) the organization of a forum, conference, seminar, or workshop; such gatherings may be of either an academic or nonacademic nature, but academic meetings must address tangible social issues and aim to have real-world impact. An important consideration in screening applicants is whether or not the proposed project was initiated by the Sylff fellow. Past SLI activities are described in “Awardees & Reports.” (

The Sylff Philosophy
Issues of pressing concern today are becoming more and more intertwined with other complex, global-scale problems, and no one country can resolve them alone. The parties affected by the problems may not all have the same values and interests or share economic or political orientations. Underlying the Sylff philosophy is the desire to support “leaders” with the passion and ability to serve the common interests of humanity, transcending narrow national, religious, ethnic, and other differences to undertake socially constructive leadership initiatives and act in an inclusive manner, respecting diversity in cultures and values.


2. Eligibility

  • Applications must be submitted by one or more current/graduated Sylff fellows.
  • The proposed project must be initiated by a fellow and geared toward making a contribution to society.
  • The proposal must be for a (1) social action project or a (2) forum-type event.

(Note) In addition to the above eligibility requirements, the following should also be considered:

  • SLI does not finance pure research.
  • SLI does not finance projects that were initiated by a non-fellow.
  • SLI grants may be used to finance ongoing projects originally conceived outside the SLI framework, but such projects must be in line with the aims of SLI.
  • Priority will be given to creative and innovative approaches that can be expected to generate or catalyze significant social change.

3. Application and Selection

(1) Period of Application
Applications will be accepted throughout the year.

(2) Application and Screening Procedures
Application and screening procedures consist of the following two stages:

a. Preliminary Application (Concept Paper)
Applicants must submit a concept paper (prescribed form downloadable as Word file) at least four months prior to the project’s implementation (exceptions may be considered in unavoidable circumstances; please contact the Sylff Association for details). Applicants should indicate the issue they wish to address, the project’s goals, the approaches to be taken, and anticipated social impact.

The concept paper will be reviewed by the Sylff Association secretariat; successful applications will proceed to the formal application stage.

b. Formal Application
Applicants whose concept papers have been approved are invited to submit a formal application consisting of the following:

  • Application form (prescribed form downloadable as Word file)
  • Detailed proposal
    The detailed proposal should address the following:

    -Issue: What is the key issue you wish to address and why are you addressing it?
    -Activities and approaches: What do you hope to do and how will you do it?
    -Objectives and goals: What are your objectives and goals?

    -Initiative: How you are proposing, organizing, and leading the project?
    -Relevance and significance: Why is the project relevant and significant? For whom?
    -Feasibility: Provide arguments for the feasibility of the proposed project.
    -Number: Indicate the number of project participants and their respective roles.

    -Expected outcomes: Outline expected outcomes in both short and mid-long terms.
    -Others: Describe other aspects to help reviewers judge the proposed project.
  • Budget (sample downloadable as Excel file)
  • Schedule
  • Bios
    Submit a brief biographical sketch (within 120 words) for each applicant and other project members, including their background, current position or occupation, academic or professional interests, and role in the proposed project.

  • References
    Two letters of recommendation should be submitted. They should be written by those who endorse the project and are familiar with your academic achievements and/or social engagement activities.

The Sylff Association secretariat will screen applicants for eligibility, feasibility of the proposed initiative, level of the fellow’s personal engagement, relevance to tangible social issues, and potential for real-world impact. Interviews with the applicant and/or referees on the phone, in person, or through other formats may also be arranged. The secretariat will thereupon make a final decision on the award.

 (3) Notification
 Applicants will be notified of the results so as to provide sufficient lead time for the implementation of the project.

 (4) Award Disbursement

  1. The award will be disbursed directly to successful applicants. An Agreement will be signed between the applicant and the Tokyo Foundation. In principle, the full amount will be paid in one installment before the project is implemented.
  2. A project report, including a narrative description of the results and a financial report, shall be submitted by all applicants. The financial report must be accompanied by receipts. Should actual expenditures turn out to be significantly less than the amount disbursed, the Foundation will request a refund of the unexpended funds.

4. Awards

(1) The maximum award per project is $10,000. Additional funding may be provided, but only when necessary to accommodate requests expressly made by the Sylff Association.

(2) An SLI award may be used to cover the following expenses:
International travel, domestic transportation, living expenses, meeting room/hall rental, refreshments served at meetings, acquisition of resource materials, printing and copying of documents, consumables, supplies, communication costs, etc.

It may NOT be used for the following:

  • Salaries for personnel
  • Purchases of property or other assets
  • Other items as determined by the Association

(3) Awards may be combined with other funds or financial resources.
(4) Awards will be provided for approximately five projects per year.


5. Others

(1) SLI awardees will be requested to share the outcome of their projects with the Sylff Association in a variety of formats, including articles on the Sylff website.

(2) Members of the Sylff Association (secretariat staff and Sylff fellows not associated with the project) may visit and observe awarded projects.

(3) All application documents and communication must be written in English.



Awardees and Reports

Awardees and Reports

The Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research is pleased to announce the following recipients of SLI awards since fiscal 2013.

Liza Hamman (2020)
University of the Western Cape

Title: Mindfulness for South African Educators

Holly Horan (2020)
University of Oregon

Title: The International Conference of Integrated Birth Care: Bridging the Gaps to Evidence Based Practice and Collaboration

Mulatu Alemayehu Moges (2019)
University of Oslo

Title: Strengthening Ethiopian Journalists’ Capacity on Election Reporting, Voters Education and Civic Education
Related article: "SLI Awards for Projects to Ensure a Democratic Election and Protect Indigenous People’s Rights"
Report on "Voices from the Sylff community": "
Strengthening Journalists’ Election Reporting Skills as Ethiopia Transitions to a Democracy"

Bruno Pegorari (2019)
University of São Paulo

Title: Protecting Guarani Kaiowa Indigenous People’s land rights through a litigation strategy
Related article: "SLI Awards for Projects to Ensure a Democratic Election and Protect Indigenous People’s Rights"

Shangrila Joshi Wynn (2019)
University of Oregon
Title: Climate Justice and REDD+: Voices of Community Forest Users
Related article: "
SLI Awards for Projects to Empower the Local Community and Facilitate Climate Justice"

Sennane Gatakaa Riungu (2019)
University of Nairobi
Title: The Greenhouse Enterprise - Maara Constituency -, Kenya
Related article: "SLI Awards for Projects to Empower the Local Community and Facilitate Climate Justice"

Jennifer S. Moore (2018)
Massey University
Title: Action to address a stakeholder-identified need: development of a questionnaire to improve resolution after medical injury
Related article: "SLI Awards in 2018: Projects to Stop Violence against Women and to Improve Medical Injury Responses"

Tayseer Abu Odeh (2018)
The University of Jordan (Jordan)
Title: Bruised Bodies and Wounded Souls: Violence Against Women in Jordan
Related article: "
Influential Figures Attend University of Jordan Forum to Discuss Violence against Women"
Related article: "SLI Awards in 2018: Projects to Stop Violence against Women and to Improve Medical Injury Responses"

 Rimple Mehta (2017)
Jadavpur University (India)
Report on "Voices from the Sylff Community": "Carceral Logics and Social Justice: Women Prisoners in India"
Related article: "
Fellow’s Book Highlights Plight of “Invisible, Incarcerated” Women Prisoners in India"

The provision of a grant is intended to support a fellow's social initiatives and does not necessarily indicate that the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research endorses the political or other views of the awardee.

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Please be sure to read this page in the original language (English), not just as a translation using the “Translate” function. The Sylff Association does not guarantee the accuracy or appropriateness of the translation, which is offered through Google Translate for reference purposes only.

Inquiries should be directed to:

Sylff Association Secretariat
Subject: Sylff Leadership Initiatives(SLI)
Email: sylff[a] *[a] must be replaced by @
The Sylff Association will accept inquiries related to this program via email ONLY.