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Fall Semester Degree Conferment Ceremony 2017.9.20

Fall Semester Degree Conferment Ceremony 2017.9.20

Congratulations to all of you who are graduating today. On this auspicious occasion of the 2017 Fall Semester Degree Conferment Ceremony, on behalf of Hiroshima University, I would like to offer my deepest and heartfelt congratulations to 312 students who are graduating today. In particular, I would like to pay special tribute to the international students here today, whose tremendous efforts to overcome linguistic and cultural differences should be acknowledged in addition to their academic achievements. Needless to say, today’s feeling of joy and satisfaction is the result of persistent efforts including hours of in-depth study.

At the same time, the invaluable contribution and support of your families, friends, and other significant people around you such as your juniors or seniors, must never be forgotten. All of you have completed your studies here at Hiroshima University, the founding principle of which is “a single unified university, free and pursuing peace.” It is my belief that in the future, contemporary global events will comprise a new chapter in the history of humankind. Last May, President Obama visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, in order to place a floral tribute at the cenotaph for atomic -bomb victims and to make a memorable speech, in which he advocated a nuclear-free world. In July this year, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted at a United Nations conference. This was made possible by Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, who played a major role in the process. On 6th August 2017, Ms Nakamitsu participated in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony held in Hiroshima city, after which she gave a lecture at Hiroshima University.
On the other hand, we must acknowledge the harsh realities of our world, where ballistic missiles are repeatedly launched as a means of threat and provocation, trampling on the sentiments of the victims of the atomic-bomb and those of international communities.

I imagine that many of you here today are greatly looking forward to the prospect of a new beginning in your life, but may be also feeling a little uneasy about what the future holds. If that should be the case, I would like you to take heart from the following words by the Jewish psychiatrist Dr. Viktor E. Frankl who wrote the book “Man’s Search for Meaning” which is about his imprisonment experience in Auschwitz during World War II.
“We must never forget that there is meaning in life even when we are confronted with a hopeless situation.”
Hence, regardless of our circumstances, we should remain positive and hopeful every day of our valuable lives.

Hiroshima University drew up SPLENDOR PLAN 2017 in April this year, which is a long-term plan for the next ten years. This plan describes the mission of Hiroshima University, which entails Hiroshima University both aiming to establish “Science for Sustainable Development” as its new philosophy of peace science and playing a role in achieving a diversified, free, and peaceful global society.
It is now official that the School of Informatics and Data Science as well as the Department of Integrated Global Studies at the School of Integrated Arts and Sciences will be established at Hiroshima University in April 2018. With the arrival of a highly information-based society, exemplified by keywords such as Big Data and AI (Artificial Intelligence), the world has witnessed significant changes recently. As we are living in turbulent times, I feel it is incumbent upon everybody to improve our competency in information literacy and to polish up our English communication skills. With this in mind, I encourage all of you to spread your wings across the global stage as peace-pursuing, cultured individuals with an international mindset and challenging spirit.

Finally, I sincerely hope that your road ahead will lead to a brilliant future, filled with promise and optimism. Congratulations once again!

September 20th 2017,
Mitsuo Ochi,
President, Hiroshima University