Glasgow student wins inaugural Scottish Business Scholarship to Japan
Published: 23 June 2009
University of Glasgow student, Graham Riach has been awarded the Thomas Blake Glover Aberdeen Asset Scholarship to study at the International Christian University in Tokyo.
University of Glasgow student, Graham Riach (27) has been named as the first recipient of the newly created Thomas Blake Glover Aberdeen Asset Scholarship. The charitable fund, initiated by the Japan Society of Scotland, will enable Scottish students to study at prestigious Japanese universities.
Graham Riach will study for two months this summer at the International Christian University in Tokyo.
Chairman of the Japan Society of Scotland, Professor Stuart Picken, believes that the scholarship will help reconnect young Scots with Japan. He said: “150 years ago when Japan was opened up to the West, Scots were in the vanguard of European arrivals – as engineers, teachers, administrators and businessmen. It is time to rebuild this historic relationship. We think of Scotland as an international trading nation - yet we need to invest in our links with Japan, the world’s second largest economy. We need to encourage many more graduates to learn Japanese and gain work experience in Japan. By awarding the scholarship, the Japan Society of Scotland is providing a great opportunity for young Scots.”
Named in recognition of the Scottish entrepreneur Thomas Blake Glover who was born in Aberdeenshire in 1838, the scholarship is sponsored by Aberdeen Asset Management. Glover settled in Nagasaki in 1859 where he established an agency for his employers, the Scottish trading house, Jardine, Matheson and Co. He played a critically important role in opening Japan to the west and became known as the Scottish Samurai. He introduced the first railway locomotive to Japan, started the Kirin brewery and played an influencial role in the development of Mitsubishi as an industrial conglomerate.
Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management said: "Aberdeen Asset Management is delighted to support this scholarship that celebrates the trading and cultural links forged between Scotland and Japan. Glover's life is an extraordinary story of adventure that took him from Aberdeen to Japan, where he helped to found many industrial enterprises. This scholarship recognises his spirit of discovery and enterprise and we hope it will inspire a new generation in Scotland about Japan and vice versa."
Michael Russell MSP, Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution said: “The Scottish Government is delighted that Graham Riach will be the first recipient of the Japan Society of Scotland's Thomas Blake Glover Scholarship. This will be a great opportunity for Graham to study not only the Japanese language but Japanese culture. I would like to thank the Japan Society of Scotland, Aberdeen Asset Management and Mr Suganuma, the Japanese Consul General, for all their hard work in making this scholarship possible.
“This year in Scotland we have been celebrating the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between Japan and the UK. I am very pleased that the Scottish Government has been supporting the programme of events which has given us the opportunity to celebrate not only the friendship but the close links between Scotland and Japan.”
The Consul General of Japan in Edinburgh, Kenichi Suganuma welcomed the initiative of the Japan Society and, at the announcement of Graham’s scholarship, he said: "I do hope that many more young Scots will follow the path of Thomas Blake Glover and others, to find new areas of partnership between Japan and Scotland."
Anne Richards, Chief Investment Officer at Aberdeen Asset Management said Graham Riach’s application strongly demonstrated his enthusiasm for Japan and also his own personal commitment to developing his language skills and links to the country. “Graham is a worthy first recipient of the Thomas Blake Glover Aberdeen Asset Scholarship. He has a profound interest in both the culture and language of Japan and clear objectives for how he will use the skills and knowledge gained from the scholarship experience to develop his business career. I am sure that he will become a role model for future applicants for the scholarship and will encourage more Scottish graduates to learn Japanese and gain work experience there.”
Thomas Blake Glover Aberdeen Asset Scholarship
The scholarship is open to young people who are at a post secondary educational level. Preference is given to candidates who have a business focus in their interest in Japan. The scholarship will fund them to travel to Japan to undertake a period of intensive study of the Japanese language at the International Christian University (ICU) Summer Programme from July 4 to August 14 2009. The scholarship will provide a grant of £5,000.
Impact of Thomas Blake Glover and other Scots on economic development of Japan
Thomas Glover (1838-1911), the Scottish born entrepreneur embarked on a career in SE Asia when he joined the Scottish trading house, Jardine, Matheson & Co in Shanghai from where he went to Japan. He created Glover and Co. in Nagasaki in 1859, and played a leading part in the modernisation process ushered in by the Meiji Period (1868-1912).
Glover imported the first locomotives to Japan. He also established a brewery that later became associated with the famous Kirin brand. He is credited with influencing the development of Mitsubishi as an industrial conglomerate. Glover House in Nagasaki draws thousands of visitors every year, thus earning him an enduring place in the history of Japan’s awakening as a world power in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Other Scots made important contributions to Japan in the fields of civil engineering, education and public administration, but Glover remains the symbol of commercial involvement and enterprise.
Aberdeen Asset Management
Aberdeen Asset Management PLC ("Aberdeen") is an international investment management group managing assets principally on behalf of leading national and corporate pension funds, central banks and other financial institutions from its 21 offices located around the world. The group's areas of activity are chiefly equities, fixed income and property. Total Group assets under management and advice were £96.3 billion as at 31 March 2009. In October 2008, Aberdeen Asset Management announced that it had entered into a business and capital alliance with Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation ("MUTB").
Aberdeen places great importance on the training and development of Graduate Business Analysts. Through various rotations round the company, it aims to give individuals a well-rounded view of the asset management industry and its related functions. The programme provides the opportunity to maximise the individuals’ experiences in the company, whilst enhancing their skills and knowledge. Over the years Aberdeen’s graduate trainees have remained at the company and gone on to become senior members of the management teams.
Aberdeen places great importance on the training and development of Graduate Business Analysts. Through various rotations round the company, it aims to give individuals a well-rounded view of the asset management industry and its related functions. The programme provides the opportunity to maximise the individuals’ experiences in the company, whilst enhancing their skills and knowledge.
Japan Society of Scotland
The Japan Society was formed by a group of academics and business people in 1986 to enhance friendship, goodwill, and cooperation between Scotland and Japan. These aims have widened to include dissemination of information about Japan in Scotland and promotion of commercial and cultural relations.
Following the example of the Japan Society, many Japan-oriented interest groups have been set up in Scotland since 1986 including the Mugen Taiko Dojo, the Bonsai Association, the Japanese Residents of Scotland Association, and the Japan Exchange Teachers Association (JETA) of young people who have been invited by the Japanese government to work in Japanese high schools. Around 70 return each year with Japan experience. There are also centres of study at the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.
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First published: 23 June 2009