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Doctoral Degree Conferment Ceremony 2013.7.16

Doctoral Degree Conferment Ceremony 2013.7.16

Today it is my great honor to present degrees to 15 students from Hiroshima University. Congratulations to each and every one of you. I would like to offer these heartfelt congratulations on behalf of Hiroshima University.

Human society is changing more and more rapidly, and the consequences of globalization affect all areas of life. The utilization of new forms of energy, environmental pollution, economic instability, domestic conflicts and regional disputes still have been unsolved for a long time. As far as Japan is concerned, restoration in the disaster-struck areas of the Great East Japan Earthquake aren’t proceeding as planned, our population is progressively aging and there’s concern about our country’s preparations for an aged population. It will be necessary to work together and dedicate all of our strength to solve these current common issues of our country and humanity. Human society is becoming more and more diverse and complicated, and we need to build a future society based on new values.

Under these circumstances, we place our hope in the young people who will shape our future society. They need the basic skills of behaving themselves as proper members of society. In other words, young people need “the power to make their own judgments and survive” as proper members of human society. Therefore it is necessary to cultivate intellectual abilities, physical capacity, emotional strength, flexible judgment, and tolerance to accept other people.

 We have always emphasized the importance of attempting bold challenges. Attempting challenges means that you are not afraid of failure. I believe that you will learn more from the defeats or setbacks that you may encounter after taking a bold challenge, than you will from merely a resulting successful experience. I also believe that you will all continue to seek high ideals and have the courage not to be afraid of failure.

 In 2011, Dr. Osamu Shimomura, the winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, had a lecture at Hiroshima University. He discovered aequorin, a fluorescent substance in the jellyfish Aequorea Victoria. It came to play an important role as a green fluorescent protein in a variety of biological analyses and lead to great development research, but it took approximately 30 years to achieve that result. At the beginning it was a brilliant fundamental discovery, it became established as applied research, and then it took many years and dedicated efforts to go from a discovery to a contribution to human society. On the way to excellent research and achievements that contribute to the development of humankind, a strong spirit to “never give up” until your plan is accomplished and courage to overcome difficulties are essential.

Human society continues to communicate, transcending national borders, and we are advancing our activities to a global scale. Global competition is increasing. I wish for all of you who will graduate or complete your studies today and continue out into a globalized society, to understand Japan’s extraordinary art and tradition that has been handed down from our ancestors, that you will acquire strong personal qualities, and that you will act with pride, remembering your self-awareness as Japanese people in responding to societal expectations.

Keep the high ideal of “contributing to human society” and go one big step further. I hope that you grow into mature personalities who are strong enough to overcome all the future hurdles in your lives.

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.

July 16th, 2013

Toshimasa Asahara
President, Hiroshima University