Autumn Term Entrance Ceremony 2023.10.1
It is my great pleasure to welcome 329 students here today to Hiroshima University in the depths of autumn as new members of our university. Some of you, especially international students, may have great hopes and at the same time some anxiety about your university life that is about to begin. Hiroshima University has an environment and system in place to ensure that you can study with peace of mind. If you have any problems, please do not hesitate to contact our faculty or administrative members.
Now, let me give you a brief overview of Hiroshima University where your studies are about to begin. It was established in 1949, four years after the first atomic bombing in the city of Hiroshima. The oldest predecessor school of the university was founded in 1874. So, if we count its prehistory, next year will mark our university’s 150th anniversary. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of our predecessors, Hiroshima University has grown into one of the leading comprehensive research universities in Japan today, with 12 Schools, 4 Graduate Schools and 1 Research Institute, and about 15,000 undergraduates and postgraduates, including 1,726 international students from 85 countries and regions.
Many of you may remember that the G7 Summit was held in Hiroshima city in May this year. The summit attracted worldwide attention, partly because it was held in the A-bombed city for the first time, and partly because we had an unexpected visit from the Ukrainian President, Zelensky during the summit. Opinions may vary regarding evaluation of the summit, but I think it was worth holding because all the G7 leaders visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and had an opportunity to listen to the voices of A-bomb survivors. Through such events, the leaders experienced firsthand the horror and tragedy of nuclear weapons. During the summit, Hiroshima University organized a variety of summit-related events, while many students from the university served as hospitality volunteers and interpreting staff for the participants. I believe that we have been able to demonstrate to the world at large our ‘spirit of pursuing peace’, which is the first of the university’s Guiding Principles.
Now, I would like to tell you a little about the university’s recent development: in 2022, our ‘International Institute for Sustainability with Knotted Chiral Meta Matter’ was selected for the World Premier International Research Center Program by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Hiroshima University is the first university in the Chugoku-Shikoku region to have been selected for this Program. The International Institute at Hiroshima University is the only one of its kind in the world which is committed to research and the development of new materials with unprecedented molecule properties and structure. World-renowned researchers from the University of Cambridge in the UK, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA and the Max Planck Institute in Germany, have already started their research activities on the Higashi-Hiroshima Campus.
During the G7 Hiroshima Summit, Hiroshima University signed a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, on the ‘UPWARDS for the Future’. It is a US-Japan semiconductor collaboration based on a partnership with Micron Technology of the USA. According to the MOU, Micron Technology will contribute $60 million over the next five years to this big project, in which five leading Japanese universities, including Hiroshima University, Tohoku University and Tokyo Institute of Technology, as well as six universities from the USA, including Purdue University and the University of Washington, will work to strengthen research and development capabilities, forming a base for human resources development in the semiconductor field.
In addition to these educational and research activities, Hiroshima University has also been focusing on the field of social contributions, for which it is valued highly. According to the Times Higher Education’s Impact Rankings 2023, Hiroshima University ranked third in Japan for the second year in a row. Across the university, we will continue to contribute towards the realization of a peaceful and sustainable world.
Helen Keller, an American author known as a ‘miracle woman’, visited Hiroshima city exactly 75 years ago, three years after the A-bombing. During her visit, she encouraged the citizens of Hiroshima by saying, ‘Make Hiroshima a city of peace that shines around the world’. With her message in mind, Hiroshima University is keen to make ongoing efforts towards realizing world peace.
Hiroshima University offers a variety of opportunities to help you fully achieve your potential and further enhance your abilities. I hope that you will actively take up the challenge. We are fully committed to supporting you so that you will feel proud to have studied at Hiroshima University.
Finally, I would like to conclude my speech by wishing you all a fruitful university life as you take your first steps forward today.
Once again, congratulations on your enrolment today.
1 October 2023
President, Hiroshima University