Call for Applications

Call for Applications

PDF file of the Call for Applications (Updated April 2017)

PDF file of the Call for Applications
(Updated April 2017)

We accept applications throughout the year.

The Call for Applications (Updated April 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 on this page.

the text version of the Call for Applications

1. 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. About Sylff Leadership Initiatives (SLI)

To encourage Sylff fellows to take initiatives that put the above philosophy into action in an effort to change society for the better, the Sylff Association will provide financial support for activities that respect and lead to the fulfillment of the above philosophy. There are two categories of SLI activities: (1) social action projects and (2) organization of a forum, conference, seminar, or workshop. Category (2) projects should be aimed at the betterment of society, although they may be academic in nature. An important consideration in screening your application is whether or not the project has been launched under your own initiative. For examples of past SLI activities, see “Awardees & Reports.” (
Please note that SLI, in its current manifestation, cannot be used to finance “straight research” activities.

3. Eligibility Requirements

(1) Applications must be submitted by one or more current/graduated Sylff fellows.

(2) The proposed project must be geared toward making a contribution to society.

(3) SLI awards may be used for various activities associated with (1) social action projects and (2) forum projects, but they are not designed to support research activities.

4. SLI Awards

(1) The maximum support per project is $10,000. Extra funding may be provided in special cases if requested by the applicant and approved by the 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.

(Note) 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 will be provided for approximately five projects per year.

5. Application and Selection

(1) Period of Application

Application will be accepted throughout the year starting on April 1, 2013.

(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 (no prescribed format) at least four months prior to the project’s implementation (exceptions may be considered in unavoidable circumstances; please contact the Sylff Association for details).

The paper must not exceed 850 words and should include:

  • Name(s) and contact information of applicant(s)
  • Issue in question, its background and significance
  • Proposed objectives and activities
  • Potential participants
  • Social relevance
  • Approximate budget and schedule
  • Summary of other funding source(s) and amount, if any

The concept paper will be reviewed by Sylff Association secretariats; 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:

  • Detailed Proposal

The detailed proposal must not exceed 2,500 words and should address the following:

- Issue: What is the key issue in question and why should you address it?

- Proposed objectives and activities: Explain your proposed objectives and activities.

- Relevance and significance: Why is the project relevant and significant to society?

- Feasibility: Provide arguments for the feasibility of the proposed project.

- Number: Indicate the number of project participants and their respective roles.

- Expected outcome: Outline expected outcomes.

- Others: Describe other aspects to help reviewers judge the proposed project.

  • 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.

  • Two Letters of Recommendation

Submit two letters of recommendation written by those who endorse the applicants and their proposals. One of the two letters should preferably be written by a member of the Sylff steering committee, but this is not a requirement.

After reviewing the formal applications, the Sylff Association may arrange for interviews with applicants and/or referees on the phone, in person, or through other formats. The Association will thereupon make a final decision on the award.

(3) Notification

Applicants will be notified of the results of the review so as to provide sufficient lead time for the implementation of the project.

(4) Awards Disbursement

a. The award will be disbursed directly to successful applicants.

b. An Agreement will be signed between the applicant and the Tokyo Foundation calling for more than half of the award to be paid before the project’s implementation period. The percentage will be determined in consultation with the Foundation.

c. 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. The remainder of the award will be paid upon the submission of the project report. Should actual expenditures turn out to be significantly less than the amount of the first disbursement, the Foundation will request a refund of the unexpended funds.

6. Others

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

*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.

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Inquiries and applications should be directed to:

Sylff Association
Attn: Sylff Leadership Initiatives Coordinator
The Nippon Foundation Bldg. 3rd Floor
1-2-2 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052, Japan
Phone: +81-3-6229-5503 / Fax: +81-3-6229-5507
Email: sylff[a]

* * *

The Sylff Association will accept inquiries related to this program via email ONLY.

Sylff is a joint Tokyo Foundation-Nippon Foundation program. The Association is an initiative by the Tokyo Foundation (which serves as the secretariat) to create a more personalized program.

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