The University of Copenhagen, which received the 31st SYLFF endowment in 1991, kindly hosted the SYLFF 20th anniversary celebration and the biennial SYLFF Program Administrators' Meeting (see Appendix 1. Schedule). Seventy-eight (78) program administrators from 65 institutions in 43 countries participated. In addition, two of the three recipients of the SYLFF Prize awarded in 2004, three SYLFF Fellows Council members, and six International Advisory Committee members participated. Delegations from The Nippon Foundation and The Tokyo Foundation also attended. (Refer to Appendix 9. List of participants)
The four day-long gathering was designed to:
● Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (SYLFF) Program (Sessions 1 and 2)
● Update, review and discuss ongoing SYLFF initiatives (Sessions 3, 4 and 5)
● Become acquainted with the University of Copenhagen and the Øresund University (Session 6 and field trip to Malmo, Sweden)
● Reflect on the globalization of higher education and its implications for the SYLFF network (Session 7)
● Consider a proposal of a SYLFF network-wide self-study and look ahead (Sessions 8 and 9)
The outcomes are summarized below:
● SYLFF past and future (Sessions 1, 2, 8 and 9)
Both Yohei Sasakawa's 20th anniversary commemorative address and Takeju Ogata's 20th anniversary dinner speech reminded "old-timers" and informed "newcomers" to SYLFF of the formal and informal circumstances which led to the establishment of the SYLFF Program in 1987. They also shared their immeasurable trust in the 69 endowed universities and consortia and the more than 9,000 SYLFF fellows in bringing about positive change that ultimately makes the world a better place for all. In his thank you speech, Hideki Kato, reminded all to engage in "fieldwork", in other words, to engage in socially responsible scholarship.
Presentations by Egla Martinez-Salazar and Goran Svilanovic, two of three SYLFF Prize recipients in 2004, were inspiring for their intellect, conviction, courage and passion to tackle complex and sensitive issues, and on an ongoing basis. They continue to more than fulfill the vision and mission of the SYLFF Program.
While presentations and discussions during all of the sessions related in some way to the SYLFF Program's future, the proposal of a network-wide self-study and immediate follow-up specifically focused on strengthening and enhancing the Program. There was general consensus that the key question to be addressed is, how do we make the SYLFF Program better and for all stakeholders − institutions, fellows and the foundation? The Scholarship Division committed to revisit and rework its proposal and share it with all participants.
In brief closing remarks, Caroline Yang, assured the participants that the International Advisory Committee is indeed attentive to the ideas and suggestions of SYLFF Program administrators in considering the future of the SYLFF Program, such as refining existing follow-up programs, establishing new SYLFF endowments, and supplementing existing endowments.
● SYLFF ongoing initiatives (Sessions 3, 4 and 5)
The Scholarship Division presented an update of existing SYLFF follow-up programs and activities, during which the inter-connectedness of the various stakeholders − SYLFF-endowed institutions; more than 9,000 SYLFF fellows, including 24 local associations and the worldwide SYLFF Fellows Council; The Nippon Foundation (the donor); and The Tokyo Foundation (the program administrator, and planner and funding source of SYLFF follow-up initiatives), including its International Advisory Committee − and follow-up programs, which are designed to promote and support collaboration among these stakeholders, was underscored.
Current information and data on the follow-up programs and related activity (Program Development Award [PDA], SYLFF Network Program [SNP], biennial regional forums, Joint Initiatives Program [JIP], SYLFF Prize, and SYLFF Network Database) was also shared. Several SPAM participants contributed their firsthand experiences of participating in follow-up programs and provided useful examples of how SYLFF follow-up programs can be leveraged to seek support for expanded bilateral and multi-lateral programs from sources other than SYLFE.
Separate sessions focused on the SYLFF Fellows' Mobility Program (FMP) and SYLFF Network Program (SNP).
Up-to-date (FY2005 and FY2006) information on the FMP was presented, and followed by presentations by representatives of five SYLFF institutions with direct experience in administering the FMP as sending and receiving institutions. Both general (such as institutional perceptions of the FMP vis-à-vis their respective academic and student development goals and priorities) and specific matters (such as case studies of successful FMP experiences and best practice in handling the FMP) were discussed. Overall, the convenor and presenters concluded that the FMP is important to SYLFF fellows and institutions, and can be made more effective by improved communication between key contact persons and better pre-departure preparation and orientation of SYLFF/FMP fellows. (Note: Updated FMP-related information will be uploaded onto the Scholarship Division's website in early-April 2007, including key contact persons at participating SYLFF institutions.)
SPAM participants were introduced to the scheme, start-up, current status and future plans of the SYLFF Network Program (SNP), which the convenor noted is one of the most important follow-up programs in fulfilling the vision and mission of the SYLFF Program − that is, collaboration and active participation of SYLFF family members over the long-term. Results of a brief survey to seek information related to the formation of SYLFF institution-based associations of currently enrolled and graduated SYLFF fellows (more familiarly referred to as "local associations") were reported. The conclusions were: (1) there is no immediate relation between where SYLFF fellows reside and the formation of a local association and (2) in the North America and Pacific regions, there is a higher tendency for SYLFF fellows to leave the region of their institution than it is in Africa and China.
SYLFF Fellows Council representatives described and explained the function (serving as a link among and between fellows, local associations and The Tokyo Foundation), strategy-building (developing shared goals, long-term direction, and viable, action-oriented activities) and work-in-progress (NAPSA toolkit, Networking And Programs for Social Action which will be introduced during the 2007 regional forums). Questions and comments from the floor ranged from broad (e.g., balancing work- and non-work responsibilities) to specific matters (e.g., increasing use of IT).
● SYLFF in the context of the globalization of higher education (Session 7)
This five-hour long session was divided into five sub-sessions − three by region (North/South America, Africa/Europe, Asia/Pacific) and two by specialization (music/performing arts conservatories, business/management schools). Summarized below are the presentations by the 15 presenters and interjections by the co-convenors:
◆ Globalization vis-à-vis higher education was generally perceived as a catalyst for positive change within academe, and an inevitable outcome of swift trends cum changes in other sectors.
◆ Globalization has triggered internationalization in higher education; internationalization is essential to globalization. However, some basic questions need to be addressed, such as, do all institutions need to internationalize? What percent of an institution's total enrollment should be international?
◆ Globalization and internationalization are usually based on the exchange of ideas. What about developing multi-rationalities to justify higher education's discourse?
◆ Globalization and a range of pressing issues requires greater inter-disciplinarity and the development of global perspectives irrespective of academic discipline.
◆ Institutional autonomy allows universities to respond to the challenges of globalization, as in the case of selected universities in Indonesia.
◆ Student mobility by way of EU mechanisms, university-to-university or consortia exchange programs, study abroad (including "bubble trips"), sandwich programs, and dual or joint degree program were viewed positively. However, students enrolled in highly structured degree programs, such as year-long MBA programs, or those with limited financial resources are reluctant or unable to participate in the various forms of student mobility.
◆ e-learning is an effective solution to engage large numbers of students in "international learning". On the other hand, the value of face-to-face learning and collaboration has greater impact on academic study and research, and acquiring cultural understanding.
◆ Globalization, internationalization, student mobility and e-learning raise questions about quality assurance and credit transfer.
◆ Internationalization also presents challenges because there are inequalities among institutions and students.
◆ How can institutions and nations effectively deal with "brain drain" and "brain gain"? Is another model such as "brain circulation" one answer?
◆ Music is usually considered to be an international language but there are serious issues to be addressed, such as the evolution of the music profession and multi-culturalism in well established music conservatories.
◆ Competition among professional business schools and students remains high; students are in a race to complete their studies and to find a lucrative job. Hence it is difficult to attract them to study abroad although business and the economy are becoming increasingly global.
◆ The SYLFF Program's philosophy and scheme was 20 years ahead of most institutions and serves as an example to individuals and non-government sources of financial support to higher education, and are in line with globalization and internationalization. SYLFF follow-up programs and activities, including SPAMs, promote collaboration among SYLFF institutions, and encourage fellows to remain active throughout their lives.
◆ The SYLFF Program could have greater impact by increased use of information technology.
Prior to the session, a questionnaire developed by the convenors was disseminated to all participants, who were requested to complete it the day before Session 7, to generate feedback and stimulate discussion (refer to Appendix 7-11). The convenors summarized the responses as follows: (see also Appendix 7-12)
◆ The effects of globalization were generally viewed as positive and presenting opportunities rather than threats. Globalization holds promise for the future and can facilitate collaborative research, a more cosmopolitan outlook on life, and increased respect for other cultures. However, globalization has changed the environment in which universities operate in and become more competitive.
◆ Institutions in Africa, Asia, North America and Pacific all mentioned a need for more funding for various outlays.
◆ Maintaining standards and quality control are priorities for the majority of SYLFF institutions.
◆ Language, which was not referred to in the presentations and discussion, plays a significant role in globalization.
● Higher education in Denmark and the Oresund region (Session 4 and field trip)
The presentation on the University of Copenhagen and within the context of Danish higher education, and the field trip to Malmo, Sweden to learn about the "Oresund University", reflected many of the issues and concerns expressed by SPAM participants. These included effective university governance and management; institutional growth and focus; quality assurance; competition versus collaboration; collaboration with other universities, industry and government; student and faculty mobility; and sustainable development of the institution.
In closing, the Scholarship Division expressed its sincerest appreciation to all of the participants and their respective institutions for their consistently strong and active involvement in making the SYLFF Program better.