The Canon Foundation in Europe was established on 22nd December, 1987 by Canon Europe N.V., Canon’s European Headquarters for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Canon in Europe.

This milestone was celebrated not only with one-off festivities. A permanent contribution to society was founded with the aim of strengthening mutual understanding between Europe and Japan.

Board and Advisory Board

The Board of Directors was appointed by the Board of Management of Canon Europe N.V., as is written in the statutes of the Foundation. This Board of Directors brought together an Advisory Board in order to obtain advice on policies and future strategies. The Advisory Board members were sought and found in different European countries and from a number of academic disciplines in order to facilitate the Board of Directors with ideas and expertise from a wide cultural and scientific arena. Also, in this way, the Advisory Board could form a Selection Committee from its members to assess the variety of incoming applications, as there was and is no restriction in field of study.

President and Bureau

The spiritual father of the Foundation, Mr. Richard Burke from Ireland (1932-2016†), was President of the secretariat. As Chairman of the Advisory Board he combined heading the office with strategic advice to the Board of Directors for more than 10 years. Mr. Burke resigned in 1998 from both Boards and as President.

Office staff:

  • Ms. Patricia Taylor 1988 - 1989
  • Ms. Suzy Cohen, 1989 - present
  • Ms. Corrie Siahaya-Van Nierop, 1989 - 2011
  • Ms. Lai-Yoke van der Wal-Chow, 1995 – 2005

Honorary Chairman

  • Mr. Andreas van Agt, 1999 -2014

Board of Directors

Names of former and current Chairmen:

  • Mr. Takeshi Mitarai, 1987 - 1991
  • Mr. Masahiro Tanaka, 1991 - 1996
  • Mr. Hajime Katayama, 1996 - 1999
  • Mr. Hajime Tsuruoka, 1999 - 2007
  • Mr. James Leipnik, 2007 – 2014
  • Mr. Paul Kers, 2014 - present

Members of the Board

  • Mr. Paul Kers, 2014 – present (Chairman)
  • Mr. Willem van Gulik, 1988 – present (Treasurer and Secretary)
  • Mr. Karsten Huster, 2014 – present (Board member)

In 1999 this structure was revised. Instead of a President the Foundation appointed an Honorary Chairman of the Board in Mr. Andreas van Agt, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands and EU ambassador to Japan.

The Bureau was headed by a Director, Mrs. Corrie Siahaya-Van Nierop and the Advisory Board’s name changed to Executive Committee. The first chairman of this Executive Committee was Dr. Heinrich Pfeiffer. At the same time a rotation system was adopted so that every three years a new chairman was to be chosen from the committee members.

Executive Committee (Advisory Board) members from 1988:

  • Olivier Giscard d’Estaing from France, until 2008
  • Patrick Masterson from Ireland, until 2011
  • Heinrich Pfeiffer † from Germany, until 2008
  • Jose I. Rodrigo Fernandez from Spain
  • Willem R. van Gulik from the Netherlands, until 1999
  • Seigo Shima from Germany with Japanese nationality

The following members joined the Executive Committee later:

  • 1992-2002†: Kathleen Anderson from the UK
  • 1992-2008: Adriana Boscaro from Italy
  • 2000-2010: David Bloor from the UK
  • 2002-2008: Gerhard Pulverer from Germany with Austrian nationality
  • 2003: Seigo Shima from Germany with Japanese nationality
  • 2008: Claire Pike from France
  • 2008-2011: Martin Krönke from Germany
  • 2012: Daniela Männel from Germany

Executive Committee

Names of former and present Chairmen:

  • Heinrich Pfeiffer, 1999 - 2002
  • Oliver Giscard d’Estaing, 2002 - 2005
  • Patrick Masterson, 2005 - 2008
  • José I. Rodrigo Fernandez, 2008 - 2011
  • Seigo Shima, 2011 – 2014
  • Claire Pike, 2014 - present


Visiting Research Fellowship Programme

During 1988 and 1989, the best approach was sought on how to translate the objective of the Foundation into a successful format. After listing and studying several options, the activity of a Visiting Research Fellowship Programme was chosen as the best means to achieve the aim of strengthening mutual understanding between Europe and Japan. The first application and selection round took place in 1989 with the first Visiting Research Fellows going into the field in 1990.

The candidates for these Fellowships were between the ages of 30-45 and aimed to be ‘high-flyers in mid-career’ who would have the opportunity to get away from administrative burdens and/or teaching requirements. Instead, the Fellowship gave freedom for research, choice of research topic and host institution. In order to give younger, promising researchers the same opportunity, the lower age limit of 30 was abolished in 2000. The maximum age then became 40.

Visiting Professorship Programme and Awardees

Three years from the start, in 1993, an additional programme was launched with the Visiting Professorships. In this programme the host institution nominated the visiting professor who lectured overseas (again Japanese came to Europe and Europeans went to Japan). Students had the chance to be taught by experts from the field from a different culture; staff had the opportunity to collaborate on research topics of mutual interest.

This programme was changed to the Awardee Programme in 1999 when the emphasis moved towards research collaboration and lecturing to a wider audience. The last Awardee was selected for the year 2005. From 1993 - 2005, 21 Visiting Professorships and Awards have been granted.

Canon Foundation Prize

From 1991-99, the Canon Foundation Prize was awarded annually to the author of the most promising piece of research published in ‘Japan Forum’ the bi-annual journal of the British Association of Japanese Studies (BAJS). This programme was set up on the initiative of one of the Visiting Research Fellows, in order to promote Japanese Studies in general.

Until 2004, the journal itself was sent to all Canon Foundation Fellows in the Humanities as a complimentary copy from the Bureau.

Canon Foundation Conferences

The Foundation financially supported conferences or seminars initiated by Research Fellows several times. However, due to financial restrictions and the large number of applications for Research Fellowships every year, it was decided to concentrate on this programme and stop supporting ad-hoc activities.

Canon Foundation Invited Lecture

The Canon Foundation Award Programme came to an end in 2005. Replacing this, was the Canon Foundation Invited Lecture which ran from 2007-2012 where a lecturer who was an outstanding person in academia, government or a professional organisation was invited to deliver a lecture on a theme which was topical and of relevance to the international community. The lecturer was nominated by the Executive Committee members of the Canon Foundation in Europe. The first Invited Lecture, on Global Citizenship, was held in 2007 to commemorate the Canon Foundation in Europe's 20th anniversary. The last Invited Lecture, on the EU-Japan Partnership in the new age of Globalization was held in 2012 and given by His Excellency Professor Hisashi Owada, Judge and former President of the International Court of Justice which commemorated the Foundation’s 25th anniversary of granting research fellowships.

  • 2007: Three lectures on Global Citizenship, Madrid, Brussels and Berlin. Lecturer: Dr. Troy Davis
  • November 2008: Intercultural Dialogue between Germany and Japan, Berlin. Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Horst Albach
  • November 2009: The present world financial framework – European and Asian approaches to a global currency, Madrid. Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Ramón Tamames
  • November 2010: Creative Tensions between Science and Technology, University of Cambridge. Lecturer: Sir Richard Henry Friend
  • November 2012: The EU-Japan Partnership in the New Age of Globalization. Lecturer: His Excellency Professor Hisashi Owada