Our Wellington and Manawatū campuses are open, Auckland remains closed at AL3. More information.


From left: Japanese Embassy Information and Cultural Centre director Takashi Ato, interpreter Kanae Hirano, Yohei Sasakawa, Steve Maharey, Hideto Mitamura and Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Brigid Heywood.


Two decades of Sasakawa leadership scholarships celebrated

The University this week marked the 20th anniversary of the launch of a Japanese fellowship that provides funding for New Zealand university students identified as future leaders.

In 1991, Massey was the 29th university in the world to join the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Scholarship set up by the Nippon Foundation. The University administers fellowships providing significant financial support to students studying for master and doctoral degrees at all New Zealand universities.

In the two decades 71 students have received fellowships – 24 of them at Massey – and many have gone on to achieve success throughout the world.

At a function at Wharerata on the Manawatu campus on Monday, Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa spoke of the vision of the fellowship fund. "It's a programme that seeks out people who see the world from a global point of view...who have the potential to become a powerful force in their various fields...to become leaders in their communities."

Mr Sasakawa spoke of the disasters suffered in the recent Christchurch and Japanese earthquakes, saying people in Japan were aware that New Zealand and its people were among the fastest in the world to respond even though Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami came just a fortnight after the February quake hit Canterbury.

University Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey also spoke of the impacts of the earthquakes in both countries and the gratitude New Zealanders felt for the support towards Canterbury from the Japanese people and their government.

Mr Maharey thanked the foundation for the scholarship. "This has had an impact on the lives of young people who will go on to become leaders – who will go on to leadership roles that will support both nations."

Another speaker at the celebration was Japan's Ambassador to New Zealand, Hideto Mitamura, who praised the contribution Mr Sasakawa has made throughout the world via the foundation. He said the scholarship helped bilateral relations in ways that were not always possible for governments.

Professor Emeritus Graeme Fraser, who was responsible for the management of the endowment that funds the scholarship for the first 12 years, said it was a bold step in that it was rare for a private organisation in Japan to take such an initiative and in doing so it aimed to cross cultural, religious and political boundaries in order to foster young leaders of tomorrow.


Related articles

Symbol of peace marks Hiroshima bombing
Teachers say Hai! to teaching Japanese