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Nippon Paint Establishes The Gennosuke Obata Fellowship At Harvard

Wee Siew Kim, CEO of the NIPSEA Group, sheds light on the whys and hows.

Why did the NIPSEA Group, known throughout Asia as Nippon Paint, decide to establish the Gennosuke Obata Fellowship Fund? How did the idea come about?

Our overall business strategy embraces a holistic approach towards creating the next generation of thinkers, innovators and game changers in their lives, families and communities and country.

As such, The Gennosuke Obata Fund represents Nippon Paint’s next step in investing in young leaders who are passionate in the fields of design and architecture. At Nippon Paint, we continuously strive to help nurture fresh talent who many not have the financial means or opportunities to do so, that they can have a bright future and broader perspectives upon completing their studies. 

Why choose to work with the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD)?

GSD is a prestigious school dedicated to the education and development of professionals in architecture, landscape, urban planning, among other design-related disciplines. With a commitment to excellence that demands the skillful manipulation of form and technology, and drawing inspiration from a broad range of social, environmental, and cultural issues, it is uniquely positioned to provide leadership for shaping the built environment of the 21st century.

With this, their commitment and values are in line with that of the NIPSEA Group in wanting to strive towards creating forward-thinking leaders who are passionate about the design-related industry. This is why we chose to decide work with the GSD as our long-term partner to establish the Gennosuke Obata Fellowship Fund.

How can students qualify for access to the Fellowship?

For a student to be considered for the Gennosuke Obata Fellowship, the student will be required to gain acceptance to the GSD, originate from one of the countries listed in the terms and face a critical financial need. More information can be obtained from   

How many students can the Fellowship support at any one time?

Between two and three students, based on the eligibility of the students during the semester.

How do you hope the beneficiaries of the Fund can transform the social and built environment?

Nippon Paint’s gift of $300,000 to establish the Gennosuke Obata Fellowship Fund includes $50,000 for immediate use to benefit students at the GSD. With this, we hope that these talented students will be further driven to explore innovative methods and ways to transform the current design landscape and industry as it is.

Why is NIPSEA committed to nurturing the next generation of talented designers?

Innovation is part and parcel of Nippon Paint’s brand DNA since we formed the NIPSEA group back in 1962. Taking into account innovation as part of everything we do, we have revolutionised many industry firsts through introducing functional innovations such as pioneering the first odourless paints, external coatings which can reduce indoor thermal heat, and most recently, introducing Malaysia’s first anti-viral paint coating.

Nippon Paint strives to not only come up with innovative product offerings to meet the needs and demands of consumers, but we also remain committed to nurture our next generation and drive them to take on this innovative spirit to strive to become the next young design leaders in the industry.

Low Shi Ping
19 June 2018