Office of the President

Message from the President

Academic Year 2018 Autumn Commencement Ceremony (September 25th, 2018)

It is my honor to be here today to congratulate you on the successful completion of your studies at Kyushu University and to thank your family members who have supported you in your studies and research, the teachers who have guided you, and the many others who have been an influential part of your academic life. I am happy to report that 425 of you are being awarded degrees: 62 a bachelor’s degree, 174 a master’s degree, 2 a professional degree, and 187 a doctorate. 291 of you are international students. I would like to express my deepest respect to you for your dedication to your studies and give my heartfelt congratulations on being awarded your degrees today. During the years that you have spent here, Kyushu University has changed tremendously. I would like to talk to you about these changes.

Thirteen years have passed since the autumn of 2005, when the first group from our engineering programs relocated here to the Ito Campus. The development of the Ito Campus is progressing steadily. The Ito Campus relocation program has been completed and we are now in the final stages of moving here from Hakozaki. As of this autumn, there are about 20,000 students, staff, and faculty members studying and working here. This is an aerial photograph of the Ito Campus. The engineering buildings, the Faculty of Arts and Science, and the science buildings have all been completed. The agricultural, humanities and social science programs relocated here just this month. Many architecturally advanced buildings have been constructed on the Ito Campus over the last few years. The Hospital, Ohashi, and Chikushi Campuses are undergoing redevelopment. The buildings on the Hakozaki Campus are steadily being dismantled with a view to the sale of the site.

The world has seen many changes, both within Japan and overseas, since you joined the university. I would like to look back over these events. On the international front, in 2015, Diplomatic relations between the USA and Cuba were restored. In 2016, the UK held a referendum on the future of its membership in the European Union and a majority voted to leave, causing widespread anxiety about the future of the global economy. In 2017, Emmanuel Macron won the French presidency. At 39, he became the youngest ever president of France. Due to repeated missile tests by North Korea, international tension has grown. In 2018, the Pyeongchang Olympic & Paralympic Games took place in South Korea, with a record-breaking 92 countries and regions taking part. Inter-Korean summits took place for the first time in 11 years between the leaders of North Korea and South Korea. The summit was focused on the North Korean nuclear weapons program and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Afterward, the North Korea–United States summit was held in Singapore. This was the first summit meeting between the leaders of the United States and North Korea. They signed a joint statement, agreeing to security guarantees for North Korea, new peaceful relations, and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The situation in Asia is going to change drastically.

Closer to home, in 2015, the sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution was selected as a World Cultural Heritage site. The biggest event in 2016 was the Kumamoto Earthquake. Not one, but two earthquakes with a seismic intensity of 7, the highest level on the Japan Meteorological Agency’s scale, struck Kyushu. I am sure that these earthquakes were a terrifying experience for all of you here today. In 2017, on July 5 and 6, torrential rains occurred in Northern Kyushu. This disaster caused extensive damage to Northern Kyushu, especially for Asakura city, Fukuoka. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincerest appreciation to the many Kyushu University students who participated in the volunteer efforts to assist in rebuilding after this terrible event. Kyushu University formed an “investigation, recovery, and reconstruction assistance mission” through the collaboration of our researchers and students in various fields, and provided effective assistance to the disaster area. On a happy note, Fukuoka’s Oki-island was selected as a World Cultural Heritage site. In 2018, Japan frequently suffered from natural disasters and extreme weather.

Big earthquakes hit Osaka and Hokkaido, torrential rains occurred in Western Japan, and deadly heat wave continued to cover large parts of Japan. The temperature in Kumagaya, a city near Tokyo was recorded at 41.1 degrees Celsius. It is the highest-ever in Japan. Elsewhere, the temperature rose to 39.9 in Ohita, 38.3 in Fukuoka, and 36.4 in Hokkaido.

This year, indeed this month, is a special one for Kyushu University, since it marks the completion of Ito Campus relocation program. In commemoration of this, we hold various events to celebrate this completion throughout the year. In particular, we hosted the 20th congress of the international academy of Comparative Law, which was the first time that the General Congress has been held in Asia. Prince and Princess Akishino and over 800 international law scholar from 75 countries attended. From today to 28th September, we also host the 4th World Social Science Forum 2018, which is the first time this event has been held in Asia. The Crown Prince and Crown Princess and over 900 researchers, funders, policymakers and other stakeholders from 80 countries will be attended. 29th September, We will hold Kyushu University Ito Campus completion ceremony.

To commemorate the centenary of its founding and pave the way for its next century, Kyushu University established a new slogan in 2011: Lead in the Next 100 Years, Leap to the Best 100 in the World. We have recently began implementing the Kyushu University Action Plan 2015-2020. It features six key tasks. We have set out specific proposals and a roadmap for each task. The plan has progressed steadily during your time here. Your great efforts are one of the main reasons we have made such tremendous strides toward meeting these goals.

This, then, is the state of the world, Japan, and Kyushu University as you all set out on a new path today. As representatives of the university, in order to create a better world, it is vital for us to acknowledge and respect each other’s differences and diversity, whether in terms of ethnic background, religion, culture, or perceptions, and to promote and maintain a variety of exchanges and interaction, especially in the fields of research and education. I believe that we also need to present a prescription for the future of society, proposing and spreading new values and cultural directions. From what I have seen of your many accomplishments during your time at Kyushu University, I have very high hopes for your future success in creating a better world.

I am sure that you will face various difficulties in the years to come. When you are confronted by problems, it is important to have a motto or mindset to encourage you. As my parting gift to you, I would like you to remember the three Cs: Challenge. Change. Creation.

Even after you graduate, Kyushu University will always be with you, supporting your efforts and cherishing our links with you through our various alumni associations and the many contacts you have made during your time here. I hope that you will be proud to be alumni of Kyushu University and that you will use what you have learned here to pursue your dreams and to blaze a trail to the future, becoming leaders who provide the impetus that will drive global society. I bid you farewell and good luck.

September 25, 2018
Chiharu Kubo
President, Kyushu University

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