2022 Autumn Induction Ceremony：President's Address
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the autumn 2022 Shizuoka University induction ceremony for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. A hearty greeting to you all.
After sparking a global pandemic two years ago, COVID-19 continues to have no end in sight. Last year, many students could not make it to Japan for the induction ceremony. As a result, I streamed my greeting to those students who could not attend. Luckily, circumstances have improved this year, and I am delighted to see so many incoming students in attendance.
I would first like to extend my sincere congratulations to all the students who could join us today: the 22 undergraduates, the 47 graduates, and the 26 doctoral candidates. I want to also extend my felicitations to your families and those who have supported you.
Many undergraduate and graduate students here today are a part of the Asia Bridge Program (ABP). We started the program seven years ago at the request of companies located in Shizuoka Prefecture. Many of these firms are expanding throughout Asia, so they need talented individuals to act as a bridge with their local employees. These companies have made significant donations to establish scholarship programs to provide financial support to our ABP students. Fortunately, many ABP graduates have found positions at these companies, succeeding as expected.
The ABP has also been groundbreaking for Shizuoka University, both in the corporate support the program has had from the beginning and the unprecedented, exceptionally diverse educational and research environment it has fostered. It is remarkable that through this program, international and Japanese students can interact with each other through classes and research activities. I hope you will eagerly interact with Japanese students, make good friendships, and help to further increase Shizuoka University's diversity.
Unfortunately, for two years, COVID-19 has hindered students worldwide in moving freely across borders and building close relationships with people from diverse social and cultural backgrounds through mutual exchange. However, despite the circumstances, we must realize that we have a critical role in building cross-cultural bridges. I sincerely hope that at Shizuoka University, which fully guarantees educational and research rights, students and faculty members continue to enthusiastically engage in discussion and develop initiatives to create a better future for us all.
Many of the problems before us require solutions that elude us. The 21st century awaits people who can find these solutions. Many of the problems confronting us today are incredibly complex and multifaceted. Thus, solutions stemming from individual disciplines alone cannot address them. We must go beyond individual specialties and pursue interdisciplinary approaches to deal with such intractable problems. Society looks to us for solutions to the myriad problems impacting the modern world, including, for instance, initiatives to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to an end, approaches to decarbonize society, strategies to bridge social and economic gaps and end conflicts worldwide, and responses to the nuclear threat that is beginning to emerge. Addressing these issues will require going beyond monodisciplinary focus toward interdisciplinary collaboration. I hope you will challenge yourselves to break down the boundaries between the humanities and the sciences as you study and conduct your research at Shizuoka University. Naturally, you will depend on your expertise in your research. Still, I hope you will expand your studies to include subjects you think are unrelated to your specialties. Even if you don't think you need to learn an academic subject at the moment, once you pursue such studies with interest, you may find material you can use in your field. I believe that this approach to learning is crucial. Pursuing such efforts should greatly expand the potential and scope of your research. I urge you to try this approach.
At Shizuoka University, you will be free to pursue your research according to the problems that interest you and disseminate your academic and research findings to society. In other words, at Shizuoka University, we value your inquisitive spirit and creative exploration. Research and initiatives considered "useless" at one time may earn significant appreciation in our changing society. I hope that during your time at Shizuoka University, where we respect each individual's approach to inquiry, you will reject passivity and actively pursue many challenges.
You will now live in Japan, and by extension here in Shizuoka Prefecture, for several years to come. Naturally, you will live in environments that differ from your home countries, so many things may confuse you, including language and customs. I hope that you will enjoy this opportunity and experience as much of the Japanese language and culture as possible. Your new home of Shizuoka Prefecture is blessed with natural splendor and a rich history and culture that captivates many. I sincerely hope you will lead an active student life in such an excellent environment.
In closing today, I would like to congratulate each of you who has chosen to pursue your academic journey at Shizuoka University.