On Sunday, December 7, 2014, the 4th EUIJ-Kyushu International Conference, entitled “After Crisis: What Next for European Integration?” was held at Kyushu University’s Nishijin Plaza. This conference is organized by EUIJ-Kyushu (the EU Institute in Japan, Kyushu) to debate key issues common to EU members.
Ahead of the conference, President Kubo held a 30-minute informal discussion with His Excellency Viorel Isticioaia Budura, who was appointed Ambassador of the European Union to Japan on October 31 this year, guest speaker Dr. Franz Fischler, former European Commissioner, and Dr. Fischler’s old friend and former Member of the House of Representatives Mr. Kosuke Hori. During this discussion, they exchanged views on relations between the EU and Japan, with particular reference to the importance of exchange and cooperation between Europe and Japan in the field of higher education. President Kubo explained that, having been selected for inclusion in the Top Global University Project, this university’s policy was to devote even greater energies in future to cultivating personnel with a global outlook. Although this was the first time that President Kubo and other faculty members and the EU representatives had met each other, everyone had some mutual acquaintances among the participants, so the whole discussion took place amid a congenial atmosphere.
In his address to mark the opening of the conference, President Kubo explained that EUIJ-Kyushu is one of four such institutes in Japan established as a partnership between the EU and universities, and that it is run by Seinan Gakuin University and Fukuoka Women’s University in conjunction with this university, which is the host institution. As well as former European Commissioner Dr. Fischler, who is from Austria, this year’s conference welcomed Associate Professor Senem Aydin-Düzgit of Istanbul Bilgi University in Turkey, while Professor Ken Endo of Hokkaido University served as commentator. The latter half of the conference featured a round-table discussion and Q&A session with the participation of H.E. Isticioaia Budura, in which the speakers examined European integration from both an historical and a global perspective, and exchanged opinions concerning its contemporary significance. Following the closing remarks by Kyushu University Executive Vice President Reiko Aoki, the audience and speakers moved to another location, where they spent a pleasant hour or so chatting over drinks.
(Top) H.E. Viorel Isticioaia Budura (rear center) and others hold an informal discussion with President Kubo (far right)
(Middle) President Kubo gives the opening address
(Bottom) Round-table discussion