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Degree Conferment Ceremony 2009.3.23

Degree Conferment Ceremony 2009.3.23

I would first like to congratulate each and every one of the graduates receiving diplomas on this day. I would also like to congratulate the parents and those related, and express my deepest gratitude for your continual support of Hiroshima University. I would also like to thank all of you for taking the time to be here with us at the degree conferment ceremony today.

Hiroshima University was newly established on May 31, 1949, making this our 60th anniversary. Looking back at all the events of impact which occurred during your time here as students reaffirms to me that our world is still yet unstable. In addition to the rapid progression of science, natural disasters are followed by disasters wrought by man. There is the creation of iPS stem cells, the Nobel prize winners in physics and chemistry, Mr. Masukawa, Kobayashi, Shimomura, and Nambu, the Beijing Olympics, bird flu, terrorism across the world, the earthquakes in Pakistan and Java Island, the Great Sichuan Earthquake, the food product scandals, the financial crisis, tipped off by the sub-prime loan issue, and many more. The rapid development of science from the latter-half of the 20th Century into the beginning of the 21st Century has brought a great bounty to mankind, but at the same time, is also the root of many new issues which humanity must face.

On the other hand, the one of the biggest events which took place on campus was the corporatization of the university, which took place in 2004. This was followed by the division of our graduate school, the introduction of our Hiroshima University Program of Specified Education and Study Program, the start of the first Accessibility Leader Training Program, the first of its kind at a Japanese university, the foundation of the Hiroshima University Fund, and many other advancements. In the field of research, our university has achieved many world-class research results, such as the successful observation of the giant black hole in the Centaurus constellation and the selection of the HiSIM-LDMOS transistor model as an international standard.

It is in the midst of this society that you have lived as students here at Hiroshima University and gained many valuable experiences through both classes and extra-curricular activities to be where you are today. After graduation, it is my hope that you will further develop the rich humanity which you have gained in your time here, and that you will be able to overcome any and all difficult obstacles which may come before you.

Society at the end of the 20th Century faced food and energy shortages, and new issues, such as environmental pollution and destruction, terrorism, and more, were born. I believe that this demonstrates the great injustices brought to the whole of society by 20th Century capitalism which continued to glorify and develop the notion of "material goods" as the pinnacle of all things good. However, the 20th Century is over, and with it, so is the era of "material goods" and "money" as the symbols of richness. We must now strive to build a 21st Century which places value on consideration for others and building rich and meaningful connections with others.

The 20th Century which desired only for the richness of material goods is over, and in the 21st Century where international issues continue to advance further, we must aim to create a society where empathy for others and richness of spirit is valued; and at the same time, humanity must come together as one to solve the grave issues which face us all. Through all this, we must make the utmost efforts so that our future will be one which is filled with hope.

I pray with all of my heart that you, who have studied here at Hiroshima University, as members of society or as leaders in your community or in the international sphere, will contribute to the creation of a future filled with hope.

As you embark on a new chapter of your lives, I pray that the roads ahead lead to a brighter future, filled with promise and hope. Congratulations.

March 23, 2009

Toshimasa Asahara
President, Hiroshima University