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Doctoral Degree Conferment Ceremony 2014.7.15

Doctoral Degree Conferment Ceremony 2014.7.15

Today I would like to extend my deepest congratulations to all of the graduating students of Hiroshima University. I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations on the celebration of this year’s ceremony on behalf of Hiroshima University.

Human society is changing more rapidly than ever and globalization is extending to all areas of life. On the other hand, the world is shaken by issues such as the need for new energies, environment pollution, economic instability, erratic democratization movements and regional conflicts.

In case of our country, we need a far-sighted plan to respond to the long-term challenge of recovering from the Great East Japan Earthquake, as well as to the problems of the declining birth rate or population and the markedly aging society even in urban districts.

As human society is becoming more and more diverse and complicated, it will be necessary to work together and dedicate all of our strength to resolve these common issues currently facing our country and humanity.

Under these circumstances, we place our hope in the young people who will shape our future society. They need the basic skills to be able to survive and behave as proper members in a globalizing society. In order to develop such skills, it is necessary to cultivate intellectual abilities, physical capacity, emotional strength, flexible judgment, and tolerance to accept other people.

In 2010, Dr. Osamu Shimomura, the winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, had a lecture at Hiroshima University. When he discovered aequorin, a fluorescent substance in the jellyfish Aequorea Victoria, he also found a green fluorescent protein called GFP. It came to play an important role in a variety of biological analyses and led to groundbreaking development research, but it took approximately 30 years to achieve that result. At the beginning it was regarded as an important fundamental discovery, and it became established as applied research. Then it took many years and dedicated efforts for it to change from a mere discovery to be able to make a contribution to human society.

Dr. Shimomura’s example shows us that on the way to excellent research and achievements that contribute to the development of humankind, a resolute spirit to persevere until your plan is accomplished and courage to overcome difficulties are indispensable.

Human society continues to communicate, transcending national borders, and we are advancing our activities to a global scale.

Recently, New York Times published an article about the five attributes on “How to Get a Job at Google”. It pointed out that for every job the No.1 criterion was the general cognitive ability as opposed to the I.Q. It also pointed out that cognitive ability was the ability to learn, be able to manage depending on the situation, and piece together fragments of different kinds of information. We have to think deep about the human resources required by a continuously globalized society.

The knowledge-based society in the 21st century demands members of society with the spirit for lifelong learning. Based on your studies at Hiroshima University through acquiring knowledge and wisdom, I hope that you cultivate sensitivity by experiencing excellent art and culture and that you become broad minded members of society able to overcome all kinds of difficulties in the future.

I wish that all of you, who will enter society today, will turn your gaze to the future and take a giant step forward to continue to seek the high ideals of contributing to human society.

As you embark on new chapters in your lives, I pray that the roads ahead lead to bright futures, filled with promise and hope. Congratulations.

July 15th, 2014

Toshimasa Asahara
 President, Hiroshima University