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Press Release  
Release Date: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 11:10 AM
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Dr. Kerry-Ann Hamilton
Dir. of Strategic Communications & Marketing
Howard Highlights Partnership with Sylff Global Fellowship Program

WASHINGTON (September 13, 2011) – Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa and a delegation from Japan visited Howard University on Sept. 8 as part of the Graduate School’s ongoing participation in the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) Program.

Sylff (pronounced “sylph”) identifies and nurtures leaders who seek to overcome differences such as nationality, language, ethnicity, religion, and political systems to tackle global issues that influence world peace. The program supports outstanding doctoral students in the humanities and social sciences.

In 1991, the Howard University Graduate School became a partner in Sylff through a $1 million endowment. Sixty-nine universities and consortia in 44 countries participate in the program. About 13,000 students worldwide have received Sylff fellowships.

Graduate School Interim Dean Charles L. Betsey, along with Joseph Reidy, associate provost, and Alvin Thornton, senior academic advisor to the president, welcomed Sasakawa to Howard.  Thornton brought greetings from Howard President Sidney Ribeau and described Sylff as an important part of the university’s international programmatic emphasis. 

Sasakawa, son of the founder of the program, met incoming Howard Sylff fellows Elana Denise Anderson (African Studies);  Melvin Barrolle, ( History); Jude Daceus, (History); Ronald C. Noel, (History); and Wanjiku Gachugi, (African Studies); and Abdul Samad Mukati, (Communication Sciences and Disorders).

In recounting the history of the program, Sasakawa reflected on how his father was a strong advocate and believer in education, even though he did not have an opportunity to obtain a college degree. He said his father visited Atlanta and met with Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights era. Sasakawa also commended Howard University on the high quality of the students selected for the program. The Nippon Foundation was established in 1962 as a non-profit philanthropic organization, active both in Japan and abroad.

Earlier this year, the Graduate School celebrated the 20th anniversary of its association with Sylff. For more information on the program, call (202) 806-7636, or visit the program’s website at

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