Social action program series 3
Honda YES Award scholarship program







To foster next-generation young leaders for the development of science and technology.

Inspired by the "Dreams and Happiness for All, with Technology" 1 spirit of Honda Motor Company founders, Soichiro Honda and Takeo Fujisawa, a research scholarship program called “Sakkokai” was founded. It was in operation from 1961 until 1983 in Japan.
 
 
 
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This program helped over 1,700 people, many of whom went on to become leaders in the field of science and technology. The Honda Foundation carried on the spirit of Sakkokai to launch the YES (Young Engineer and Scientist) Award in 2006 ? extending its international scope by beginning its activities in other Asian countries. Launched in Vietnam in 2006, the award has extended its reach to India in 2007, subsequently expanding to Cambodia and Laos in 2008. Some other Asian countries are currently considered to be the next candidates. These expansions demonstrate a long-standing history.
 
First, a selection committee is formed by members chosen from experts and local affiliates. Then, the committee partners with several universities with leading expertise in science, and selects students with noble ideas and ambitious dreams. To ensure transparency of the selection process, comprehensive screening is carried out based on interviews and essay-writing examinations supplemented by academic performances. The core of the award is a scholarship worth USD 3,000 per year. Furthermore, if an awardee makes his/her intention clear to apply for a master or doctoral study in Japanese graduate schools, he/she will receive an additional YES Award Plus scholarship (USD 7,000 for a stay that is less than a year long, or USD 10,000 for a stay that is a year or longer), contingent upon the actual enrolment into the postgraduate program within one year receiving the scholarship.
 
In 2010, the YES Award was given to 14 individuals in India, 10 in Vietnam, 4 in Cambodia and 2 in Laos. The Honda Foundation hopes that awardees would develop a sense of closeness to Japan and as a result, build a bridge of strength and partnership between Japan and their home countries. Also, through the scholarship program, the Honda Foundation wishes to highlight Japan’s contribution rather than Honda’s.

The foundation dedicates 5 years to the project in each country. Hence, the Honda YES Award in Vietnam, which has already been awarded to 40 individuals, ended in FY 2010. In the future, local affiliates will take the lead in continuing the localization of the program. With the completion of the project in Vietnam, the Honda Foundation is considering expanding its program to new Asian countries.
 
The YES Award is praised very highly in these countries. In India, the award ceremony for the second Honda YES Award was held on February, 2009. The award was given to 10 individuals out of approximately 100 applicants from five different universities. At the award ceremony, the Indian Space Research Organization Advisor, Dr. M. G. K. Menon encouraged the students by saying, “Japan owes its remarkable recovery in post-war economy to the advances in science and technology, but also to Japan’s cultural traditions and the high standards of conduct of its people. I encourage you to learn those wonderful aspects of Japan through the YES Award Plus program.” The program has also garnered recognition with Indian students studying in Japan, many working hard in the well-equipped research facilities of Japanese universities. These experiences are very stimulating to Japanese students as well.

A Cambodian student, Mr. Pehn Socheat, a recipient of the YES Award in Cambodia said, "I have dreamed of studying in Japan since I started my studies in the university. Now that this dream has come true, I want to enhance my knowledge and skills and mature into someone who can lead my home country to become like Japan." 2

The Honda Foundation hopes to continue to bring more foreign students to study in Japan through the YES Award scholarships. The Honda Foundation has wishes to promote more exchanges not just through science and technology, but also through experiencing the Japanese mentality and hospitality.

1 The mission of Honda foundation: http://www.hondafoundation.jp/en/profile/missions.html

2 The 2008 Annual Activities report of Honda Foundation: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/50204509/Creating-a-truly-humane-civilization
 
    
 


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