Spring 2024 Graduation Ceremony


Mar 27, 2024

On Friday, March 15, the Spring 2024 Graduation Ceremony took place, and a total of 694 undergraduate and graduate students representing 30 countries successfully completed their degrees. The ceremony was held at B-con Plaza, where the graduates, guardians, faculty, and staff attended to celebrate their new beginnings.

At the ceremony, President Hiroshi Yoneyama sent the graduates off with the following message:

Although you were confronted with a challenge in the form of the pandemic, you were able to continue your studies at APU while using modern technology to connect with your friends, and you provided each other with encouragement as you paved the way to your postgraduation. I have nothing but the deepest respect for your resilience, or in other words, your ability to withstand adversity.

On the occasion of your graduation, I would like to make two requests. First, I would like you to live a moral life. To do this, you need character, and this is something you create yourself. In your lives that lie ahead of you, your character will be determined by what you think, what you feel, and the actions you decide to take. Always think about whether your words, actions, and attitudes are respectable. You must not lead lives where you think it is okay to do anything to the extent that you don’t break the law, or that it is okay to do something wrong as long as you don’t get caught. To have courage, to face your troubles head on, to be honest, to be loyal, and to empathize with others—it is truly meaningful to keep putting these kinds of things into practice.

Second, I would like you to value everyone you meet. APU has developed one of the most diverse university campuses in the world. Students from many different countries and regions who have different cultures, customs, and religions come to study at APU. The experience of learning to accept students with different cultural backgrounds and ways of thinking as individuals, and belonging to the same university community with such people is a precursor to the future of human society. At APU, we refer to this approach as “inclusiveness,” and it forms the basis of our university’s development. I hope you will make the most of this inclusive experience and value all the people you meet in your lives going forward. At the same time, I hope you will value the friendships you made at APU with your classmates, upperclassmen, and underclassmen.

I hope that every one of you will use the expertise you have acquired at APU, the power of your mutually supportive networks of friends around the world, and the resilience you have developed in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic to demonstrate leadership in solving these problems.

In closing, may your lives be filled with happiness, and once again, congratulations on your graduation.

―――You can read the rest of his message here.―――

Representing the undergraduate students, this year’s Ando Momofuku Award-winner Kodai Doi (College of Asia Pacific Studies) reflected on his studies at APU:

Allow me to share two important things I learned during my time at APU. Firstly, if you put all your efforts into what you want to do, you can achieve anything. As a sophomore, I founded an organization called MUSUBU that promotes international exchange activities to make the most of APU's international environment. Despite initial difficulties due to COVID-19, our events have boasted participants from over 40 countries. Many of those who participated have commented that these exchanges have allowed them to interact with a variety of people from different grades and nationalities, and have helped them find their own goals and dreams.

Since last autumn, I have also been working on activities in Beppu that people of all ages, from children to adults, can attend. I intend to create opportunities for people to meet and interact with a diverse range of individuals, regardless of their affiliation, nationality, or age. I hope that these activities will encourage more Japanese people to look beyond Japan and, conversely, for more people from different countries around the world to bring their skills and talents here.

The second lesson I learned is the significance of building connections with people. When you reflect on your four years at APU, the faces of your friends, professors, and other individuals you connected with are likely the first things that come to mind. The majority of APU students, people who come from all over Japan and countries around the world, came to APU with dreams they wanted to pursue. The time I spent with them, studying, sharing meals, and traveling, was invaluable to me. It changed my perspective on life and my values.

Let's continue to work hard and move forward with our precious friends we have met at APU. Together, let's strive to change the world. “Shape your world”

Then, representing the graduate students, Cosmos Amoah (Graduate School of International Management, Ghana) addressed the audience:

The leadership of APU, past and present, bravo! You have given us a home away from home. You have assembled students from more than 90 countries with diverse understandings of issues, yet you’ve successfully designed structures and systems for us to live together harmoniously.

During my study period, I took on several challenges and tested my capabilities in diverse ways: competing in international business cases and essay competitions and winning awards, writing business cases for APU, serving as a Teaching Assistant, and joining all panel interviews for reaccreditation of the MBA program. These are memories I cannot forget.

If there's one thing that stands out in my mind as the greatest challenge I faced during my time here, it was the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At first, I was consumed by frustration and disappointment. I had worked so hard to come to APU and now, just as I was starting to make my mark, everything had come to a halt. But then I remembered the words of a wise person who said, "In the midst of every adversity lies the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

I call on all of us, 2024 Spring Graduates, to be “different”! Let us not agree with the notional carrots-and-stick approach of rewarding good and punishing bad. Let's remodel and rethink to make the world a safe and better place for all. We have a role to play, and we have already shown this during our studentship at APU - a university that teaches us to “Shape our World”. When we have the chance in the future, let’s not call for emergency sessions only to play “blame games” or “exchange speeches”, as we see today. As Heraclitus believed and so do I, “The only constant in life is change”. We have been prepared to embrace this change in a more positive sense. Comrades, let’s be different!

The ceremony ended with the traditional cap toss with many flying red caps and voices declaring, “We are APU!” The graduates left the venue with smiles on their faces as they set off on the next stage of their journeys.

You can watch the ceremony on APU’s official YouTube channel.

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