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Doctoral Degree Conferment Ceremony 2014.1.21

Doctoral Degree Conferment Ceremony 2014.1.21

Today, at the beginning of 2014, it is my great honor to present degrees to 16 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.

We hope that the academic degree that you have earned and its academic values, along with all the valuable experiences you have built up, will be a bright light and an encouraging support in your lives. I am also confident that your excellent achievements will be a cornerstone of progress in academic research development which is the foundation of the knowledge-based society in the 21st century, and will be a great contribution to the construction of a hopeful future society.

The rapid development of academic research has accelerated the progress of globalization in human society. As far as Japan is concerned, we need to respond to a super-aging society far beyond our experience. Changes of environment surrounding human society are too fast to be predictable and there are many new issues we have to overcome: Energy issues due to the Earth’s limited resources, depletion of resources such as food or water, and increasing air pollution and global warming increasingly causing natural disasters such as localized torrential downpours, typhoons or tornados etc. Solving those environmental problems is extremely important for the future of human society. Furthermore, the world is also shaken by issues such as erratic democratization movements, terrorism and territorial disputes and a widening gap between the rich and the poor in both advanced and advancing nations. The delayed reconstruction of the disaster-hit areas in the Great East Japan Earthquake needs a lot of material and moral support. One more urgent issue is the problem of an aging society which is expected to assume serious proportions quite rapidly even in urban areas. To cope with issues such as falling birth rate and the decrease in population, we should take a serious look at the increasingly important roles of elderly persons and women.

Such changes in social environment will continue and it is believed that human society will grow in diversity and complexity. Facing these intense changes in environment, each of you must fulfill your duty given to you as a new member of society.

Prioritizing an economy seeking “material wealth” and “convenience” etc. has caused distortions. In order to correct them, we should heighten sensitivity and aim for a society where everyone shares the values of spiritual richness. We must also share our ancestors’ wisdom with the young to build an even stronger “mutually-supportive regional community”. At the same time, we must deepen cross-cultural understanding, try harder to foster global human resources that are able to accept diversity, and build a structure of global peace with “coexistence” as the keyword.

I sincerely hope that all of you who have learned and accomplished a high level of academic research at Hiroshima University will take advantage of the skills that you have developed, improve your ability to make use of your knowledge, and grow as personalities and as members of society to become promising human resources that are able to support the global and local community and contribute to our future society.

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

January 21, 2014

Toshimasa Asahara
President, Hiroshima University