The Nippon Foundation, a Japanese philanthropic organization that promotes social innovation, has committed $100 million in funds to expand the World Maritime University.
Based in Malmo, Sweden, the WMU is a postgraduate maritime university founded by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 1983 as a center of excellence for maritime post-graduate education and research.
Speaking at the inauguration of a new WMU campus on Tuesday, Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa announced the foundation would set up a special endowment fund worth US $100 million to help the University to establish itself as “an ocean and maritime research institution engaged in multi-disciplinary scientific research in the marine field, and an educational institution that generates human resources who have the capacity to address ocean issues with a multi-disciplinary approach.”
Sasakawa also committed an addition $3 million per year over the next ten years to continue its existing student fellowship program and enhance the Nippon Foundation Chair.
The pledge comes following the recent decision by the WMU Board of Governors to approve a study for the financial sustainability of the university which identified 8 strategic directions that would be key to the institution’s sustainability and future growth, which included expanding the scope of WMU to include ocean-related matters and the establishment of a Maritime and Ocean Policy Research Institute within WMU, plus the establishment of an endowment fund.
Sasakawa voiced his support for an expanded ocean-related agenda for WMU, commenting: “It is my wish for WMU to keep moving forward to establish itself as an educational and research institution that can address ocean issues from not just the maritime but the greater oceanic field.”
“Mr Sasakawa’s vision for WMU is completely in line with the eight strategic directions recently adopted by the WMU Board of Governors,” Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General of the IMO and Chancellor of WMU. “The oceans and the shipping industry, both so vital to the future of mankind, must have leaders that are very well versed in ocean policy matters and can take a global view of the oceans and shipping. WMU will provide those leaders, and the pledge made by the Nippon Foundation today is a major step forward in achieving the expansive and innovative strategic directions adopted by the Board of Governors.”
The Nippon Foundation, through the Ocean Policy Research Foundation, is the largest fellowship donor to the University, providing 22-25 new awards annually.