Congratulations to all of you who received degrees from Kyushu University today.
In total, 344 students received their degrees: 54 from our bachelor’s programs, 121 from our master’s programs, 4 from our professional degree programs, and 165 from our doctoral programs. Among the recipients, 224 are international students. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, today we are able to hold the commencement ceremony as usual thanks to thorough infection control measures. The faculty and staff of the University are delighted to be able to celebrate the degree recipients, as well as the numerous others involved in their academic journey. We want to extend our heartfelt congratulations to you all as you embark on your next adventure.
Today, we have invited President OH Se-Jung and other guests of Seoul National University, and President OH Se-Jung will also give a congratulatory address. President OH Se-Jung and distinguished guests, thank you for coming. We have nurtured our relationship with Seoul National University over many years, and we are delighted to have the delegation from Seoul on our campus at this ceremony. I believe that this close and intimate partnership between the two Universities will foster not only cooperation and trust between the institutions but a prosperous relationship between our two countries.
It has been almost three years since the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out, and it shows no signs of abating. The list of opportunities that have been limited due to the related restrictions is endless. Many receiving degrees this fall are international students, and I am sure they have faced challenges since arriving on campus. Unfortunately, the impact of the pandemic has been far-reaching, affecting students' academic experience as well as campus life outside the classroom. Nonetheless, we, the faculty and staff of Kyushu University, respect your fortitude and resilience and are proud of your academic achievements in the face of the imposed restrictions. I trust that the lessons you have learned at Kyushu University during this pandemic will undoubtedly serve you well in the next phase of your lives, and I look forward to your successes in the future.
In a world increasingly affected by climate change, natural disasters are becoming more and more commonplace. Our world is in the throes of change with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and regional conflicts such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine. We have enjoyed material prosperity thanks to scientific and technological progress and the growth of the global economy, but we must now correct for the impact of this progress and development. We need to seriously target the objectives of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement if we are to build a sustainable world where our diverse communities can realize happiness in the true sense of the word.
Our plans for change over the next ten years have been met with high acclaim. Last year, the University was named a “Designated National University Corporation” by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and our plan to become “a university that drives social change with integrative knowledge” is outlined in “Kyushu University Vision 2030.” We hope to integrate “knowledge” across the University to discover new insights from unique perspectives, construct new ways of thinking, and provide solutions to the ever-growing list of challenges facing society today. I ask that you all imagine what your life may be like in 10 to 20 years, set clear goals filled with purpose, and start building a new “future for yourselves.”
Kyushu University places great importance on connections with its alumni. Any time you want to learn more or challenge yourself with new goals, we will welcome you back to Kyushu University. Upon your return, let us once again embark on a “journey of knowledge.” Today, many alumni associations have been established overseas. I hope you’ll take full advantage of these networks to maintain a fulfilling connection with the University and society around you.
Perhaps you have heard of Dr. Tetsu Nakamura, an alumnus engaged in medical activities in Afghanistan for many years. He devoted himself to the construction of irrigation canals for the stability of the region. Sadly, Dr. Nakamura was shot and killed there in 2019, but we at Kyushu University continue to honor his firm will and unwavering desire. In these uncertain and challenging times, I hope the next generation will keep an eye on the state of the world as they carve out a place for themselves on the global stage.
With that in mind, let me offer you some words from the end of Dr. Nakamura's book, Providence Was With Us:
“Humans are part of nature. Nature is inside of us all. This fact is both an undeniable fate and a blessing that regulates all life on earth. There is no way for us to survive as a species without a reconciliation between nature and humanity and between humans themselves in the endeavors of science, economics, medicine, agriculture, and all other aspects of human behavior. I believe that this is the mark of a decent civilization.”
Once again, congratulations on your graduation.
September 22, 2022
President, Kyushu University