SINGAPORE, Nov 22, 2019 - (ACN Newswire) - Safeer Shersad, a student from India, is the first recipient of the Gennosuke
Obata Fellowship Fund, established by the NIPSEA Group better known throughout Asia as Nippon Paint. With the fund,
Safeer is attending the prestigious Harvard GSD as a candidate of the Master in Urban Planning. For someone who had
initially planned to pursue a career in culinary arts growing up, stepping into Harvard University's Graduate School of
Design (Harvard GSD) was more than just a dream come true. It is a shared memory and an emotional journey between
24-year-old Safeer and his late father, who was instrumental in leading Safeer towards his true calling in life.
"I am very grateful for the support from Nippon Paint and the Gennosuke Obata Fellowship Fund. Harvard GSD's studio
pedagogy has given me the opportunity to work with real clients on pressing challenges facing the world today, such as
creating inclusive participatory tools, ameliorating the impacts of climate change through renewable energy provision,
and designing public housing for older adults and immigrant populations. It is truly a privilege to be part of a peer
group that inspires me to collaborate on projects that address the needs of the communities that need it the most," said
Safeer Shersad. "I hope to continue this work of tackling global dilemmas and strains that face underprivileged
communities through my academic and professional work."
Safeer's father, a doctor who dedicated his life to healing others, had always emphasized the value of service,
education, and life-long learning to his children. Unfortunately, his sudden demise left the family in anguish and
grief. Reeling from this loss but determined to uphold his father's principles of uncompromising work ethic, Safeer
worked on a tight schedule to complete his standardized tests and application requirements in just two weeks. This
successful application successfully secured a candidacy for the masters program at the Harvard GSD. Through the
Gennosuke Obata Fellowship Fund, Safeer was awarded US$20,000 to pursue his goals of providing inclusive urban design
solutions to solve global challenges at the local level.
Safeer is a firm believer that cities should cater to the needs of all of their inhabitants. Applying design to empower
marginalized communities has always been an important priority for Safeer, and one of his life goals is to design
solutions to address such needs. Over this past summer, he worked with NBBJ, a global design firm, on the Boston
Downtown Plan - a comprehensive planning project which aims to accommodate Boston's growing population while retaining
the Downtown's dense, historic fabric. As part of this plan, he worked on mapping baseline geospatial data, and using
these indicators to develop public realm recommendations to create inclusive public spaces in the downtown of one of the
most iconic cities in the world.
"Safeer showed academic excellence, curiosity and potential in my first semester core studio, where he created a
masterplan and participatory strategy for an industrial site in South Boston. He is now a teaching assistant for this
studio, and effectively guides my students to build up their technical skills in research and representation. With an
interest in design, strategic planning and transportation, Safeer is well positioned to take advantage of the
multi-disciplinary curriculum and engagement offered at the GSD, and I am excited about his future," said Toni L.
Griffin, Professor in Practice of Urban Planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
The Gennosuke Obata Fellowship Fund was established by Nippon Paint to provide talented young designers funding toward a
world-class design education at Harvard GSD. The fund was created as part of Nippon Paint's commitment to equip young
Asian design talents with knowledge and skills to address challenges relating to Asia's need for urbanisation solutions
in a rapidly-growing population.
"Nippon Paint believes that education is the key to helping design talents develop skills and achieve sustained
advancement for their professional development. We are passionate about leading initiatives to help groom game-changers
in Asia, and hope to build a strong support ecosystem through world-class education providers such as Harvard GSD. We
believe that young designers should harness the intention of using design to better the lives of the people and bring
this mindset with them as they enter the professional field," said Mr Wee Siew Kim, CEO of NIPSEA Group.
The Gennosuke Obata Fellowship Fund provides financial aid to Harvard University's Graduate School of Design (Harvard
GSD) students from Asian countries. Nippon Paint gifted $300,000 to establish The Gennosuke Obata Fellowship Fund,
including $50,000 for immediate use to benefit students at Harvard GSD. The remainder of the gift is invested in Harvard
GSD's endowment, leveraging these dollars for future support. The Fund represents Nippon Paint's next step in investing
in young design leaders, on top of the company's commitment to nurture the next generation of talented designers,
reflected in its Asia Young Designer Awards (AYDA).
The Asia Young Designer Awards (AYDA) is a platform that allows young design talents to identify pressing world or
community needs and propose design solutions to address these issues. Established in 2008, AYDA has grown to become one
of Asia's premier design awards, with students receiving hands-on learning opportunities from key industry players as
well as fellow architecture and interior design peers in the region. To take part in the next installment of AYDA, visit https://www.asiayoungdesignerawards.com