Autumn Term Entrance Ceremony 2018.10.1
On behalf of Hiroshima University, I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations on your entrance to Hiroshima University. I am very pleased to welcome all of the 305 new students enrolled at Hiroshima University who are gathered here today.
For some of these students, this may be your first visit to Japan, and naturally you may be feeling a bit nervous as well as having some high expectations of your campus life here. Please rest assured that Hiroshima University will do its very best to support each and every one of you.
I also would like to offer my congratulations to your families and other significant people, who have supported you all the way.
Now is the most beautiful time of the year in Japan, and autumn is at its best here on the Higashi-Hiroshima campus, with the tree leaves turning red and gold. A rich diversity of flora and fauna can be found on this campus. Among the national universities in Japan, I strongly believe that our campus is one of the richest in nature. Hiroshima University is keen to support your campus life all the way, so that you will graduate with a strong sense of joy and satisfaction with having studied at HU.
Be it torrential rains, earthquakes, or typhoons, this year so far has seen one devastating disaster after another in Japan and the rest of the world.
Still fresh in our memories, for example, are Typhoon Trami that marched through Japan yesterday, as well as the big earthquake and tsunami that hit Indonesia two days ago.
As for Hiroshima University, the torrential rain, which struck western Japan in early July, inflicted some damage to the university: some facilities were inundated with muddy water, and some slopes on campus partially collapsed. Following the disaster, HU made a series of swift decisions regarding a number of problems and did as much as it could. These included the prompt provision of halal and vegetarian food to some of the international students, and the securing of transportation to and from campus. Fortunately, now everything on campus is back to normal.
Within a few days of the torrential rain disaster, I came across a moving newspaper article. Apparently, around that time Higashi-Hiroshima city experienced heavy traffic jams, resulting in more than three kilometers of congestion, as many roads in the city were still covered with muddy water. What would you do if you came across something like that?
Upon seeing the state of the traffic, 15 volunteer students from HU called for donations of rice on Twitter. After boiling the donated rice, the students made it into 300 onigiri rice balls, and together with some drinks, they proceeded to hand them out to the drivers stuck in the congestion.
No textbook can effectively teach you how to help someone in need who is right in front of you.
The famous scientist Albert Einstein once made the acid remark: “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school,” which he then consolidated with the words: “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”
At the time of my inauguration as President of Hiroshima University three and half years ago, I set out on a mission to cultivate “peace-pursuing, cultured individuals with an international mindset and a challenging spirit.” I would like to encourage those starting out at Hiroshima University today, to acquire not only specialized knowledge, but also a broad education in many subjects, and most definitely, one of the guiding principles of HU: “the pursuit of peace.”
With the world becoming highly-networked information society and globalized, it has gone through radical changes. Hiroshima University opened the School of Informatics and Data Science (the 12th School at HU) and the Department of Integrated Global Studies at the School of Integrated Arts and Sciences in April this year. In addition, the reorganization of the Graduate Schools at Hiroshima University will start next April.
I strongly believe that some of you here today are very likely to be future world leaders. I would like you to acquire a strong will and passion, which will enable you to make advancements on the frontline of research and practice. Indeed, this in turn will make the world a better place, even if just step by step. Hiroshima University has streamlined the environment to cater for such students. Please take brave steps into the future with your head held high.
Congratulations once again!
1st October 2018
President, Hiroshima University