Guided by its founding principle of “a single unified university, free and pursuing peace,” Hiroshima University (HU) has fulfilled its mission as an exceptional institution of learning in the fields of education, research, medical services, and social contribution. As colleges and universities in Japan are required to further advance in internationalization, HU will proactively fulfill its mission and role, fully recognizing its duties as a research university located in Hiroshima. Having taken office as the 12th President of HU, Dr. Mitsuo Ochi set himself the aims of “cultivating peace-pursuing, cultured individuals with an international mindset and a challenging spirit” and making HU “a university of world-wide repute and splendor for years into the future.” To realize these aims, he drew up the long-term vision “SPLENDOR (Sustainable Peace Leader Enhancement by Nurturing Development of Research) PLAN 2017.” In order to successfully accomplish this long-term vision during President Ochi’s second tenure (2019-2022), the International Strategy 2022 has been established.
The SPLENDOR PLAN 2017 adopted “Science for Sustainable Development” as a new guiding principle for the field of Peace Sciences, under which a set of new missions for HU were proposed: the establishment of a new discipline called “Hiroshima Peace Science” and the realization of a diversified, free, and peaceful global society. To fulfill these missions, HU devised an international strategy consisting of two concrete objectives: promoting the discipline of Peace Studies and contributing to the realization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The backbone of this strategy is HU’s established reputation as Japan’s leading university in education, which is grounded in a long-standing intellectual tradition passed down from Hiroshima Higher Normal School as one of the university’s predecessors.
Taking advantage of Hiroshima’s intellectual climate and HU’s educational experience, HU places a special emphasis on the realization of SDG4 (Education) and SDG16 (Peace) under the university’s principle of internationalization, in order to become an educational institution where both students and staff can experience their own personal growth in an international environment.
The new HU strategy is based on “Hiroshima University International Strategy 2016,” but it has been divided into four areas of focus, namely: “Education,” “Research,” “International/Social Contribution” and “Branding/Development of Infrastructures for Internationalization.” Additionally, specific plans will be proposed for each of the four strategic areas, and region-specific strategies will be devised to maximize the effectiveness of resource distribution.
(1) Establishing integrated education for cultivating global-minded human resources
HU offers an integrated education system that trains global-minded human resources in stages throughout the entire course of study from admission to graduation. With a clearly defined curriculum map, our system guides students through the developmental process from cross-cultural exchange, overseas experience, specialized education, and individual research to overseas work experience, thereby meeting the specific needs of all the students enrolled at HU. In order to establish this integrated education system, we intend to make the most of diverse systems, education programs, and other tools that are available to us now. Our priority in this regard will be to enhance the environment for sending and receiving students to and from overseas institutions as detailed below, with a view toward developing domestic and international students who have global competency and are resultantly capable of meeting a variety of social needs.
① Encouraging more domestic students to study abroad
We will take every opportunity to expand study abroad programs to enhance integrated education of global-minded human resources. We will also aim to increase students’ global competency to prepare graduates to play an active role in the international arena.
② Inviting more international students
International students on short-term programs will be offered various all-university exchange programs, courses on the Japanese language and culture, and specialized education taught in English and other languages, so that they can access quality education and research opportunities.
(2) Internationally standardized curricula
We will launch an “Internationalization at Home” program, which will allow Japanese students and international students to learn together, as part of our effort to design and offer an elaborate education curriculum that assists students in deepening their understanding of Japan while learning about it from an international perspective.
(3) Offering Japanese language and culture education tailored to international students
We will offer ICT-driven courses on Japanese language and culture that meet the needs and levels of individual Japanese language learners as well as Japanese language teachers residing overseas, with the aim of leading our current practice of diverse Japanese language and culture education and partnership programs with neighboring educational institutions to the formation of a hub of Japanese language education in the Chugoku and Shikoku districts. Furthermore, we will utilize our overseas bases to create a global network of campuses in order to cultivate global-minded human resources ready to play an active role on the global stage and establish ourselves as a hub of Japanese language and culture education in the Chugoku and Shikoku districts.
(4) Assist students in becoming educated individuals who pursue peace with a global mindset.
HU offers a variety of subjects in the field of Peace Studies. The course is designed to help students develop skills around examining facts, analyzing information, and discussing the concept of peace. The overarching aim of the course is to assist students in becoming educated individuals with a global mindset, who actively pursue peace and promote understanding toward others in an international setting, utilizing the knowledge and skills gained from studying at HU.
(5) Cultivating human resources while striving to achieve SDGs
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require us to consider pressing issues that humankind and Planet Earth face today and in the future as universal and relevant to ourselves, and think and act together while making necessary changes. Out of our sincere wish that each and every student will become capable of thinking and acting proactively to meet the SDGs and play a leading role in a myriad of ways throughout regions as well as the world itself, we will offer a variety of learning opportunities. In so doing, we will establish an interdisciplinary education program through collaboration and integration across multiple fields and disciplines, thus taking a more systematic approach to our university’s endeavors.
(1) Strengthening research capabilities
In an attempt to reinforce our research capabilities, enhance the quality of our research, and improve our reputation by promoting international joint research, we will build an international research network, utilize the network in a coordinated manner, win a large amount of external funds, aggressively hire international faculty members, and develop on-campus infrastructure for reinforcing international research activities. With these measures, we will continue to take on new endeavors while increasing the effectiveness of ongoing initiatives, thus making HU a research organization with sustainable international competitiveness.
(2) Establishing a base for Peace Studies and Education for Peace.
HU has created a new regional hub for the research and education in Peace Studies, which is tasked with disseminating the message of global peace and with contributing to the wellbeing and development of local communities.
(3) Support for research that facilitates achievement of the SDGs
In quest of “science for sustainable development,” the goal of our long-term vision, SPLENDOR PLAN 2017, we will raise the level of our basic research, application, and advanced research that underpin such science and engage in initiatives that help to maximize overall synergies as we continue to remind everyone involved how each of our endeavors will contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. Along with education and international contributions, we will institutionalize HU’s services geared toward the achievement of the SDGs, revitalize our unique research activities, and publicize research outcomes extensively both at home and abroad.
III. Social Contributions / International Contributions
(1) International industry-academia collaboration
With the aim of reinforcing our industry-academia collaboration from a global perspective and enhancing HU’s international presence, we will expand and fortify both domestic and international networks, promote international joint research, and enhance internationally expanding entrepreneur training through personnel interchanges. We hope that this will help us to strengthen our international industry-academia collaboration, cultivate and utilize human resources with a global perspective and international competitiveness, and establish an international network of researchers, which should allow us to better disseminate international research outcomes.
(2) Strengthening cooperation with international bodies and overseas government bodies
We will aggressively cooperate with international bodies and overseas government bodies in order to address common issues as we tap into our strengths and collaborate with these bodies as mutually inspiring partners in the entire range of our education, research, and international contribution. This should help increase the venues and opportunities for our education, research, and international contribution, thereby increasing our international presence.
(3) Disseminating the information regarding “Hiroshima Peace Science” to the world.
Established in Hiroshima, the city that experienced the world’s first atomic bomb, and with the founding principle of “a single unified university, free and pursuing peace,” HU has always strived to fulfill its mission of providing a “forum to study peace” from various perspectives, covering global issues including war, atomic bomb experiences, poverty, famine, and demographic and environmental conflicts. Leveraging its track record in the field of Peace Studies, HU introduces the new academic discipline of “Hiroshima Peace Science.” In cooperation with SDG projects, the university will disseminate its research output worldwide, while enhancing its domestic and international presence as a university dedicated to the principle of peace.
(4) Contribution to the achievement of the SDGs
We encourage members of HU (faculty and staff members and students) to actively involve themselves in SDGs-related activities through various avenues and to return the outcomes of such activities to our education and research, thereby maximizing synergies of our contributions to the achievement of the SDGs and institutionalizing the process of these contributions in a systematic manner.
(5) Offering distinctive cutting-edge medical science and highly advanced medical treatment
By leveraging the functions that Hiroshima University Hospital has performed as a central medical institution working in cooperation with hub hospitals in each region, we intend to form an international center for radioactivity disaster medical care, given our historical role as a university that underpinned the reconstruction of Hiroshima from the devastation of atomic bombing. This will allow us to offer distinctive cutting-edge medicinal science and highly advanced medical treatment that will gain the highest possible reputation throughout the world. We will also deepen partnerships with universities with which we have signed international exchange agreements to develop young doctors and medical professionals ready for international assignments, while at the same time upgrading and developing the university hospital into a facility that serves as a medical center for Asia that capitalizes on HU’s unique characteristics.
IV. Branding / Developing the foundations for internationalization
(1) Expanding international consortia
We will take a proactive approach to building and utilizing consortia both at home and abroad in order to advance international education jointly with partner universities across the globe through cooperation with other member universities in various education and research activities, thereby enhancing our competency for joint research.
(2) Strengthening and utilizing overseas bases and an international alumni network
Through cooperation with overseas bases and the international alumni network, we will contribute to the international society with ever-diversifying values, recruit quality international students, and foster the development of human resources capable of offering services to the local community and international society alike. Our aim is to make our presence felt more in the international society and strengthen our international competitiveness.
(3) Enhancing public relations
We will upgrade the means and contents of our public relations activities in order to communicate desired information accurately, increase interest in study abroad at and joint research with HU, and enhance our reputation.
(4) Developing an international-standard evaluation system
In the hope of enhancing international trust, we aim to establish “HU” as a brand that wins worldwide trust by creating a hybrid of international evaluation tools, accreditation standards, and other evaluation systems.
(5) Realizing a global barrier-free campus that serves as a place of learning for every member of HU
We will ensure that international students and researchers and staff members lead a comfortable life on campus, regardless of differences in languages and lifestyles or any disability they may have. Our goal is to provide a place of learning where every member of HU can realize how much they have grown, a free and peaceful campus where diversity is encouraged.