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Fall Semester Degree Conferment Ceremony 2011.9.22

Fall Semester Degree Conferment Ceremony 2011.9.22

“Contribute to society with high aspirations”

Today it is my great honor to present degrees to 221 students from Hiroshima University. Congratulations to each and every one of you. The diligent hard work each of you has given to receive this degree is something that I deeply respect, and I hope that the time you spent as a student at Hiroshima University will help to make your future life more meaningful.

The progress of academic research is accelerating; expanding extensively as new areas of study come into existence. I believe that the achievements of academic science are important for the continued existence of all humanity and must contribute to the construction of a bright future society full of hope. On the other hand, the progress of academic research brings new man-made issues such as environmental destruction and pollution, energy, water and food shortage, nuclear accidents and terrorism. In addition, natural disasters such as the Great East Japan Earthquake or the torrential rain which caused extensive damage on the Kii peninsula this summer constitute a constant menace to human society. In the 21st century, there will continually be new issues mankind must solve. To cope with the rapid globalization of our society, it is important to go beyond the borders of our fields of specialization and to stand together to solve the problems.

Together with the progress of academic research, whether one likes it or not, the society of the 21st century will face continuing globalization. Therefore, we must deepen international understanding and to accept each other as partners and to “coexist”. Building a structure of international peace will be an important common issue for all humanity. Above all, the existence of the university as a “center of knowledge and wisdom” will become more and more important.

I think that the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11th had a big effect not only on the eastern part of Japan, but also on the entire country. It made us clearly aware of serious issues associated with the development of globalization, societal aging, depopulation and overconcentration. These are all problems Japan needs to solve in future. I believe that this experience is going to lead to a big transformation that will change the societal values of the Japanese people. Each of us must face the expense of this disaster and dedicate all our strength to the resurrection of Japanese society.

To build a knowledge-based society in the 21st century, a society of the future, it is important to take full advantage of human society’s longtime cultivated “knowledge and wisdom,” and build a society in which every one’s situation is respected; in which we are able to live healthy, fulfilled, and enriched lives. I hope that your outstanding academic achievements will contribute in diverse ways to mankind and future human society.

Each of you who graduate today should keep in mind that “it is your mission as member of society to contribute to society.” I wish for you to keep your aspirations high, become an important member that underpins international and local society and functions socially.

Once again, congratulations on your graduation and best of luck in the future.

September 22, 2011

Toshimasa Asahara
President, Hiroshima University