Spring Semester Entrance Ceremony 2011.4.3
I would first like to extend my deepest condolence and heartfelt sympathy to all those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, which occurred in the afternoon on March 11th. I also want to express my gratitude and respect to everybody supporting restoration in the disaster-struck areas in spite of the inconveniences they may suffer. Our country will act as one and join efforts to support the affected areas, and restore them as soon as possible. I pray that Japan will recover and be strong as before.
On this day, here at the celebration of the fiscal year 2011 entrance ceremony, I would like to sincerely welcome all the newly entering students to Hiroshima University. It is my hope that your new life at Hiroshima University will be fulfilling and steadfast.
Hiroshima University was established in 1874 as Hakushima School, but after various transitions, was combined with eight schools such as Hiroshima University of Literature and Science to be re-established on May 31, 1949 as the new Hiroshima University with its main campus being in Higashi-Senda, Hiroshima City, an area that was devastated by the atomic bomb. Inheriting the founding spirit of “a single, unified university, free and pursuing peace,” as was set forth by our first president, Tatsuo Morito, we protect the integrity of our Five Guiding Principles: (1) the Pursuit of Peace, (2) the Creation of New Forms of Knowledge, (3) the Nurturing of Well-Rounded Human Beings, (4) the Collaboration With the Local, Regional, and International Community, (5) Continuous Self-Development. Under these five principles, our university grew into one of Japan’s core universities.
Since the late 20th century, academic research has progressed rapidly, quickly expanding worldwide, and it may drastically change the way of human society. The advance of science has been a blessing to mankind, but it births also new issues such as environmental pollution and energy shortage as a result of the current nuclear accident, terrorism and other threats. Universities, as the nucleus of the knowledge-based society in the 21st Century must play an important role in solving the problems of mankind. As a comprehensive university, Hiroshima University will continue to work on these problems and form a hub of world-leading educational research.
The 21st Century shows a rapid progress of international exchange in all disciplines, and the human society you enter after graduation will be an international and global one. A global society means the coexistence of different cultures. To accept a multicultural environment, it is necessary for Japanese people to consider their actions by observing foreign countries. On the other hand, foreigners as well, especially people in the fast growing Asian countries, are looking at us, so we have to reflect how to behave as a nation. As a member of a global society, we need to make efforts to understand and accept foreign cultures and after acquiring our countries excellent art and culture, we need to go out into the world and lay the foundation for international peace under the keyword of “coexistence” and help to construct a sustainable human society. It is essential to precisely express one’s differing opinion to others. Language proficiency is a vital tool for communication. In addition, a rich spirit, tolerance and a well-balanced human nature are required. I’m sure that such manpower will be highly appreciated in the international and global society and will be able to contribute to the realization of international peace.
Hiroshima University promotes the acceptance of international students, study-abroad programs for Japanese students and international exchange in general. I hope that you will benefit from your education at Hiroshima University and be able to broaden your understanding of other cultures and increase the opportunities to talk about international peace.
In high school you learned how to find clear answers, but at university, sometimes you must challenge problems with no solution. Studying at university is different than learning in high school. You must work out as of yet unsolved and unsolvable issues of humanity. Sometimes, even if you take a lot of time and try hard you are unable to find a solution. That’s why one can take such great pleasure in learning when you able to find your own answer to a difficult issue.
I wish for you to keep great ambition in contributing to human society in the future, and that you always will be motivated by a high spirit.
I have always pushed the importance of attempting bold challenges during your student life. However, it is not conceivable that the preferred outcome is always acquired; it is more likely that you will learn more from the mistakes you make. I believe that you will all continue to grow from the hardships and mistakes that you will experience from here on out. Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist who wrote the book “Night and Fog”, said: “What men really need is not freedom from anxiety but a goal worth working towards”. That means: Overcoming difficulties is the way to happiness.
Leading a fruitful life requires to fulfill your full potential as human being. Therefore I recommend that you meet as many challenges as possible. Meeting repeatedly challenges, you will realize that your personal goals and activities will lead you to a bright future and you then you can see meaning in your life. I hope that all of you who enter Hiroshima University today will keep your high ambitions to face academic studies and campus life, to meet many challenges and to apply what you have learned toward the future.
Today I welcome 3,749 new students and wish that you students, teachers and officials will boldly and strongly walk together the same path to the construction of a future society plenty of hope.
April 3, 2011
President, Hirohima University