On March 22, in Kanazawa, Kanazawa University hosted Kanazawa University “SGU” Kick-Off Symposium “Challenges in Establishing Kanazawa University ‘Global’ Standard.” Approximately 230 persons from within and outside the university attended the event.
The purpose of this Symposium was to transmit the information about the project “Developing Human Resources to Lead the Global Society and Establishing the Kanazawa University Brand by Thorough Internationalization” which was selected for the Top Global University Project Type B (Global Traction Type) under MEXT in 2014, and receive feedbacks to improve the project.
After the opening address by President Koetsu Yamazaki, there were remarks by Mr. Hideto Matsumoto, Director of the Office of International Planning under MEXT, and Vice President Perapong Tekasakul of Prince of Songkla University, the representative of the overseas guests. The remarks were followed by the presentation by President Yamazaki on the recent activities at Kanazawa University and the presentation by Vice President for General overview, Reformation, Research and Finance Chisato Mukai to introduce the SGU project.
Mr. Yasushi Akashi, Former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Director of International House of Japan, presented his keynote speech, “The Essentials of this Globalizing World.” He stated that while the global competition among the higher education institutions are intensifying, the positions of Japanese universities, having a lot of problems regarding course system and graduation requirements, are in danger and they must follow the global standards of education. Then, he said that the abilities necessary to the global human resources are 1) Having motivations and loving challenges, 2) Understanding different cultures with tolerance and 3) Communicating effectively. In addition to the above, he said, it is also important to be intellectually-curious, to sincerely listen to what others have to say, to have their own opinions, to patiently share one’s opinions with others, and to try to understand others deeply and carefully. The audience listened attentively to the valuable words of Mr. Akashi who plays important role in the front line of globalizing world.
In the panel discussion that followed, Mr. Akashi, Dr. John Barker (Dean of Undergraduate Education, Student Affairs, and Student Services, Tufts University), Ms. Kuniko Urano (Executive Officer and General Manager of Human Resources Department, Komatsu Ltd.), Dr. Minoru Otani (Principal, Kanazawa University Senior High School), and Vice President for Education Masayoshi Shibata gathered as panelists with Vice President Mukai as the facilitator. They shared their opinions on what abilities the university students should gain from different points of view as an educator from abroad, as a member of industry and as a high school teacher. Through the discussion, it was revealed that there is a common view that the ability to understand different cultures, the ability to tell one’s own opinion to others and the ability to look at the future are necessary. There were active questions from the audience.
Lastly, Vice President for International Affairs gave the closing address and it was a significant step toward the globalization of Kanazawa University.
After the symposium, we received a lot of positive opinions from the audience such as “It was an exciting symposium filled with the motivation for innovation,” “The strong will of President Yamazaki was reconfirmed” and “Mr. Akashi and the panelists were great” as well as the expectations for the future training of the global human resources. We also heard the requests such as “The university needs to explain the SGU projects to more and more people” and “The symposium for interim report should be held.” We will continue to hold more opportunities to publicize the SGU projects.