Message from Chairman Sasakawa

A Dynamic Movement for Positive Change

Chairman Sasakawa

Sylff is a global fellowship program aimed at nurturing leaders who will initiate action to transcend differences and address issues confronting contemporary society. The qualities such leaders must possess will change as society changes, and forms of effective leadership will invariably differ from one region to another.

As Sylff commemorates its 30th anniversary in 2017, we have made a decision to consolidate the many Sylff stakeholders into what we are calling the Sylff Association to pool the wisdom that has been accumulated over the years and to deepen and strengthen the ties among us. The Association will bring together all current and graduated fellows, steering committee members at the 69 Sylff institutions, and the staff of the Nippon Foundation and the Tokyo Foundation together into a single, more closely identifiable community.

I hope that every one of you will give renewed thought to what leadership qualities are required in today’s world to promote peaceful, sustainable, and socially inclusive development. And I hope that you will actively share your insights, knowledge, and experience with fellow Association members.

One thing that makes Sylff unique from other global fellowship programs is the support offered to fellows throughout their careers—not just during the fellowship period. The new Sylff Association will play a key role in strengthening this distinctive quality.

The choice of what we do with our Association membership, though, is ultimately up to you. I hope you’ll choose to maximize your engagement with our community and enrich your Sylff experience. I look forward to working closely with you to make the Sylff Association a truly dynamic movement that facilitates positive change in society.

Yohei Sasakawa Chairman of the Sylff Association
Chairman of the Nippon Foundation


Chairman Sasakawa, who also serves as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination, has been leading the struggle against Hansen’s disease and the discrimination faced by people affected with leprosy for over 40 years. Read his articles (in English) on the topic that he recently began writing for the Huffington Post:
It’s Mildly Infectious and Treatable—Yet Patients Still Face Discrimination (April 7, 2017)
What Did Che Guevara and John F. Kennedy Have in Common? (March 31, 2017)
Father Damien Went to Hawaii to Care for Leprosy Patients and Became a Saint (March 27, 2017)
José Was Sent Away, Banished to an Institution (March 21, 2017)

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