Fall Semester Entrance Ceremony 2015.10.1

Fall Semester Entrance Ceremony 2015.10.1

An autumnal breeze is blowing across the Kamo Plateau and the leaves of the campus trees are gradually becoming red and yellow. On this day, to mark the occasion of the 2015 Hiroshima University Fall Semester entrance ceremony, I would like to welcome 282 new students to Hiroshima University and congratulate you on behalf of Hiroshima University.

Our university has 15,000 students, and has developed into one of Japan’s leading comprehensive research universities, consisting of 11 faculties and 11 graduate schools at the Higashi-Hiroshima-, Kasumi- and Higashi-Senda-Campuses. I would like every one of you to know the history of Hiroshima University, since understanding its
history creates a solid foundation for your own pathway at the university.   

This year is the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The Hiroshima University of Literature and Science, which was located at the present Higashi-Senda-Campus, at the center of Hiroshima City, together with the other eight predecessor schools of Hiroshima University, were completely destroyed by the atomic bomb, resulting in the loss of countless precious lives of students and teachers. Four years after the disaster, in 1949, Hiroshima University was re-established as the new Hiroshima University, arising from the ashes like the phoenix shown in the university crest.

Tatsuo Morito, former Minister of Education and first president of Hiroshima University,
established the founding principle of “a single unified university, free and pursuing peace”.  
Since moving its main campus to Higashi-Hiroshima City, this philosophy continues to be upheld by the university. “Hiroshima” is known all over the world. I sincerely hope that, as students of this university, you will grow into “peace-pursuing cultured individuals of Hiroshima with international experience”.

In 2013, Hiroshima University became one of 22 institutes selected to be part of the “Program for the Enhancement of Research Universities”, initiated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Furthermore, together with the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University, our university is the only university in the Chugoku/Shikoku region to be selected by MEXT as one of Japan’s top 13 universities (Type A) to take part in the “Top Global University Project”. This signifies the Japanese government’s approval of Hiroshima University’s goal to compete with foreign universities and to research and educate at a world-class level.

These two projects show Hiroshima University’s aims to “become one of the global top 100 universities within the next 10 years”, a pledge that we have made to our nation and to the public.
But this goal requires a lot of effort and support, and your aspirations for a high level of academic knowledge will be of great assistance on this journey. Globalization of human society is progressing rapidly and our university is no exception. But what exactly does “globalization” mean?

Last month, Prof.Ginandjar Kartasasmita from Indonesia, one of the external councilors of Hiroshima University’s Administrative Council, visited our university.
He has experience as a member of the Indonesian Presidential Advisory Board and from the age of 19 he studied for 6 years at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology and was also an international researcher at Harvard University.

Prof. Ginandjar said: “Japanese universities not only have to fight against the language barrier but also that they should abandon their traditional western-orientated strategy and focus more on Asia and Africa.”
As mentioned during the forum with students, he also remarked that there is an “invisible barrier between Japanese and international students.”
I think that the first step towards a borderless society and globalization would be to break down such “mental barriers” against foreign cultures.
In other words, it is necessary to understand cultures which are different from the familiar environment and to be ready to actively accept other values.

Globalization requires both English language ability high enough to express oneself freely and a flexible and innovative mind.
Original thinking and explorative behavior are indispensable for solving difficult questions.
Therefore, I hope that you can go beyond your field of specialization and strive for a broad and far-reaching education through activities such as reading and social engagement.
Thinking laterally, ‘outside the square’, is a vital skill in our current world. This includes the flexible ability to apply knowledge which was perhaps acquired in a narrow field of specialty, to a much broader and worldly, perhaps even unfamiliar, context.

My goal as president of Hiroshima University is to build a “University of World-wide Repute and Splendor for Years into the Future”.
I sincerely hope that you, who enter Hiroshima University today, will become our team mates , forming a tight scrum to proceed together towards this goal.
Once again, congratulations, and welcome to Hiroshima University!

October 1, 2015

Mitsuo Ochi
President, Hiroshima University