What Is Sylff

The Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) Program

The Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund, or Sylff (pronounced “sylph”), is a fellowship program initiated in 1987 to support students pursuing graduate studies in humanities and social sciences disciplines. To date, endowments of $1 million each have been presented to 69 universities and consortia in 44 countries. The Sylff program aims to identify and nurture leaders who will overcome differences such as nationality, language, ethnicity, religion, and political systems to tackle global issues, and whose high integrity and drive to address issues unique to their respective countries can make a real difference. About 16,000 students have received fellowships since the launch of the program in 1987. These Sylff fellows have been active in a diversity of fields following their graduation.

The Sylff Program is a collaborative initiative of The Nippon Foundation, the endowment donor, and The Tokyo Foundation, the program administrator.

Basic Structure of Sylff Program

The Sylff Program is inspired by the vision of the late Ryoichi Sasakawa, philanthropist and founding chairman of The Nippon Foundation that “The world is one family and all mankind are brothers and sisters.” The Program contributes to support the education of outstanding students pursuing graduate level study in the social sciences and humanities with high potential for leadership, by establishing endowments at selected institutions of higher learning throughout the world, providing a sustainable source of fellowships in perpetuity.

Applications and Selection

The Tokyo Foundation does not receive individual applications for fellowships. Sylff Steering Committees established at Sylff-endowed institutions are responsible for the implementation of the fellowship program including announcement and selection. Information on each Sylff institution is available on the Sylff website.

Sylff New Financial Scheme

The “Sylff Fellowship Program under the New Financial Scheme” was developed as an alternative to the conventional scheme, freeing participating institutions of their endowment-management responsibilities and enabling them to focus on working with fellows. The Tokyo Foundation provides up to US$50,000 in fellowships each year to outstanding students at each participating institution. Click here for details.

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