Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University


Notes from the President

My message to new APU graduates

Sep 11, 2015

Congratulations on your graduation from APU today. Please allow me to say a few words on this special occasion.

In the 15 years since its inception, APU has led the internationalization of Japan’s higher education as a unique institution that does not fit the mold of a conventional Japanese university. In APU we have built an international campus overflowing with diversity. APU is focused primarily on the social sciences. Our universal discipline which aims to fuse theory and practice together with the understanding of other cultures that is promoted in daily life, having sprouted a global awareness in our world citizens which extends beyond diversity, are the important elements that create APU’s school atmosphere.

Last year, we spent an entire year holding discussions with our faculty, staff, students and alumni about the kind of university we want to become in the next 10 to 20 years, and this resulted in the formulation of the APU2030 Vision and the 2020 Second Half Plan. What are we aiming for and what are we trying to achieve? Simply put, since higher education is increasingly becoming available in a global free market, we must become a university where students want to enroll; therefore, we must distinguish ourselves from other universities by evolving into a truly global university. Doing this will require the cooperation of our alumni. Seeing how alumni work can itself be a teaching tool for our students. If we can offer internships to our current students under the supervisions of alumni, it will open up a whole range of possibilities. As we build these kinds of cooperative relationships and networks, the power of each individual can be harnessed for the greater good, and I believe this will bring us even closer to the overarching goal of the APU2030 Vision—to produce people who “possess the power to change our world.”

I believe a university’s raison d’être is defined by the expertise its programs impart, the human skills its campus cultivates and its spirit of innovation, which can play an important role in changing society. At APU, we aim to produce talented individuals equipped with expertise, human skills and the spirit of innovation, who can accept each other’s differences, overcome conflict through dialogue and work together to create a peaceful world. We call these individuals Global Citizens. More than 20 years ago, Peter F. Drucker, the world-renowned management scholar, predicted that someone who is both globally and locally oriented, that is, “a citizen of the world”. Perhaps we could say that, in terms of human resources development, APU’s goal realizes Drucker’s prediction. Drucker also said, “The educated person will ... have to be prepared to live and work simultaneously in two cultures―that of the ‘intellectual’ ... and that of the ‘manager’ ....” I think this prediction was also remarkable. According to Drucker, people will be expected to be both intellectual and able to manage things. Now, more than 20 years later, this is precisely the type of person that our global society demands.

Please remember that APU was the ideal spot for molding you into the talented individuals that today’s world needs—that is, people who are both globally and locally oriented and who are both intellectuals and managers. In other words, the APU campus, with its outstanding educational content, was the best choice you could have made in Japan and all of Asia. As you step out into the world as graduates of APU, I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

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