Source: AIT official website
September 21st, 2021 — Kurita Water and Environment Foundation (KWEF) this year awarded the fifth batch of two outstanding students from Thailand and Sri Lanka in their pursuit of Masters’ Degrees at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).
The virtual ceremony was attended by Mr. Toshiyuki Nakai, President of KWEF; Dr. Eden Y. Woon, President of AIT; Mr. Takuo Ishida, KWEF Managing Director; Mr. Toshihito Uchida, KWEF General Secretary, and Mr. Masa-aki Wakita, KWEF Secretary, as well as AIT professors who are on the Kurita Scholarship Selection Committee, Prof. Chettiyappan Visvanathan; Prof. Sangam Shrestha and Dr. Takuji W. Tsusaka. In addition, AIT Kurita Alumni from the previous three batches and the Kurita scholars from the fourth batch also joined the ceremony to express their gratitude. The ceremony was moderated by the Scholarship Coordinator, Dr. Sumana Shrestha from AIT’s Office of International Affairs (OIA).
Kurita Scholarship was initiated in 2016 through the MoU and MoA signed between KWEF and AIT in December 2016, which started with the first batch in August of 2017. For five consecutive years, the KWEF has provided scholarships to 14 individuals from Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The scholarship assists not only in academic, but also provides an internship opportunity in Japan.AIT President Dr. Eden Woon in the opening remarks congratulated the fifth and final batch of Kurita Scholarship awardees, voicing gratification towards KWEF’s generosity in assisting the recipients with their academic passion. “To the Kurita Scholarship awardees of August 2021, I would like to welcome and congratulate you for getting this prestigious scholarship,” the AIT President remarked. Upon the MoU and MoA between AIT and KWEF which are expected to finish with this final batch of the scholarship, Dr. Woon expressed AIT’s interest in renewing them for future opportunities of the students, “We very much look forward to having continued cooperation with the KWEF in the coming years as well,” he further added.
KWEF President Mr. Toshiyuki Nakai remarked by thanking the AIT President and Kurita Scholarship Selection Committee, demonstrating the important relationship AIT and KWEF shared in research and development, together with taking part in student’s success upon the scholarships. “Congratulations to the awardees,” Mr. Nakai addressed the bright students, “I am proud to present the scholarships to you.”
Honored with the 2021 Kurita Scholarship, Ms. Phorntip Saensri will be pursuing her master’s degree in Water Engineering and Management (WEM) program from the School of Engineering and Technology (SET), marking a huge step in her life and new journal of her goal. “I appreciate that the committee trusts my talent, this prestigious opportunity has lightened my financial burden which allows me to focus more on learning, and support me to spend valuable time at AIT,” Ms. Saensri said. Furthermore, she urged the importance under her area of study that focusing on water management in response to climate change is vital to protect water and the environment in Thailand and beyond. “No matter what kind of challenges I will face in the future, I will dedicate my heart and soul to achieve my degree and never give up on my goal,” the newly awarded scholarship ended her speech.
Finally, the last awardee of the ceremony, Mr. Bhanuka Prabhath Kumara Ekanayake, AIT student in Environmental Engineering and Management (EEM) program from the School of \Environment, Resources and Development (SERD), shared that the awarded Kurita Scholarship has imprinted one of the happiest moments of his life. Moreover, from his point of view, this scholarship and the higher education are the best possible ways to help others. “I am grateful to AIT for giving me the opportunity to study and I am also grateful to Kurita for giving me the scholarship to cover all the expenses that I would not be able to cover otherwise. If it was not because of Kurita, I would not be able to do my master’s at AIT, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me this opportunity,” Mr. Ekanayake voiced his gratifications.
Meanwhile, three professors from AIT who are the pioneers of the Kurita Scholarship Selection Committee shared their perspectives on the contribution of the scholarship to the students’ education. Professor Chettiyappan Visvanathan from SERD’s EEM program under the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Change highlighted how the scholarship represents prestige which attracts the most outstanding students. Professor Sangam Shrestha from SET’s WEM program and Department Head of Civil and Infrastructure Engineering highlighted that “KWEF has contributed significantly for the development of human resource which is key to solve water and environment-related problems in Asia and beyond.” Dr. Takuji Tsusaka, from SERD’s NRM program under the Department of Development and Sustainability, reiterated that the scholarship, among other initiatives, helps encourage students’ endeavors in education and research development.
Mr. Shawn P. Kelly, Director of OIA then closed the ceremony by demonstrating the sincerest appreciation to the KWEF for generously providing scholarships for AIT students for the past five years.
“As President Woon mentioned, AIT certainly welcomes a possibility of renewing our MoU and MoA with KWEF for new scholarships and research activities in the fields of water and environment. We certainly appreciate the valuable work of the Kurita Scholarship Selection Committee for the last five years in selecting the best and brightest students from across Asia for these prestigious Kurita Scholarships” the OIA Director said as he concluded the ceremony.