Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University


Notes from the President

My message to new APU graduates (2016 Fall Graduation Ceremony)

Sep 16, 2016

Congratulations, graduates.

The twentieth century brought humankind the blessings of science and technology, symbolized so well by the information technology revolution. At the same time, it was a period with many disastrous wars. As we stand here only ten-plus years into the twenty-first century, rioting and strife continue to cloud our world. It seems as though we are at risk of history repeating itself. To those of you now stepping into this world, I would implore you to keep our founding ideals close to your heart.

Indeed, in the world we live in today, with the advancement of globalization we find ourselves faced with new and different dangers that feel unprecedented in human history, from a disregard of international mutual understanding to the inhumanity of terrorist actions. In these dangerous times, it is important that our conduct be rooted in mutual recognition of the humanity and value of each and every human being. For every type of conflict or confrontation, the path to a solution begins with dialogue. Nothing good comes from resorting to violence, and reason triumphs in the end. These are universal truths of our world.

APU was founded with the ideals of freedom, peace, and humanity, international mutual understanding, and the future shape of the Asia Pacific region. These are the ideals we strive to reach. When you find yourself faced with an impersonal, chaotic world, be firm and resolute, and keep these ideals in your heart. Be confident, be proud, and remember that you are a part of an institution that values humanity in its search for universal truth.

In the sixteen years since APU was founded, we have remained a model of internationalization for Japanese universities. In 2014 we were selected by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as one of 37 schools in the Top Global University Project. In August of this year, our undergraduate and graduate business programs earned accreditation from AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. This is the result of eight years of dedicated effort by our faculty and staff, and is supported by the accomplishments of our students and alumni. This accreditation places APU with top business schools around the world. As an institution APU has often emphasized the social sciences. However, this recognition also elevates our business programs to the top ranks of not just Japan but also Asia. I hope that every one of you take this unlimited potential and join your fellow alumni as you make your way in the world.

During the Meiji era in Japan, there was a prominent elder statesman named Saionji Kinmochi. One of his many accomplishments was the founding of Ritsumeikan inside the ancient imperial palace in Kyoto in the second year of the Meiji era, which was the year 1869, or 147 years ago. More recently one of the descendants of Saionji Kinmochi, Saionji Hiroo, paid a visit to APU. He said that the freedom and internationalism that was part of the spirit of Saionji Kinmochi lives and has blossomed here at APU, 140 years later. Three years from now, in the year 2019, will mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of Ritsumeikan by Saionji Kinmochi. Coincidentally, the year 2019 will also be the 20th anniversary of the establishment of APU.

You are now all graduates of APU. You are graduates of a world-class institution. Go forth, be proud of what you have accomplished, and do great things in this world. I do hope you will come back in three years and help us celebrate our twentieth anniversary. We would love to see you.

Once more, congratulations on your graduation.

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