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Notes from the President

Former President Professor Emeriti Korenaga’s message for the 20th anniversary of APU

Apr 8, 2021

APU is located in Beppu City in Oita Prefecture on the beautiful southern island of Kyushu, Japan. APU’s location on a hill overlooking the sea and the city of Beppu, a prime destination for international tourists, is an important element that contributes to its reputation as a university that is open to the community. The spectacular bird's-eye view of this unique university from the Jumonjibaru plateau is nothing less than the symbol of APU’s irreplaceability. Although APU is far from the capital, this distance is what has helped the university maintain its independence as a unique institution.

The very existence of APU is directly linked to the universal values of humankind. In today's society, there is an increasing trend of people alienating those who are different than themselves, through such means as discrimination, sowing division, and hostility. COVID-19 has aroused a fundamental fear for survival in the consciousness of modern humans, driving many towards this alienating behavior. Universities are under pressure to review their learning and living spaces by putting systems in place to prevent the epidemic from spreading and devising flexible rules for interpersonal contact. While offering online classes, universities will likely strengthen the significance of their campuses as focal points and symbols of belonging. To counter a virus that can be transmitted anywhere and at any time, we must be aware of the need to protect ourselves while also understanding that we are all fighting the same battle. This understanding that we are “all in the same boat” constitutes the fundamental awareness of the coexistence of humanity. It is the recognition of each other's existence as human beings as well as the recognition of the freedom of the human spirit and the dignity of human existence. This counteracts discrimination and division and ties directly to the universal value of freedom that all human beings seek. This is also the embodiment of the founding philosophy of APU, and one could say that the existence of APU itself is a source of hope for human society. In the end, the globalization of capital for the sake of profit not only failed to overcome narrow-minded nationalism, it also triggered a hegemonic economic order and a global viral pandemic. What we should pursue the most now is the globalization of human consciousness, which demands the freedom of the human spirit and presents an ideal toward which we should strive as human beings. This is the only way to realize peaceful coexistence based on international law. In order to overcome the discrimination that fuels division and the oppression that tramples human freedom, the world needs truly global citizens equipped with an awareness of humanity.

The appeal of APU, at its core, lies in the places where education occurs, where students and faculty members of various nationalities engage with an advanced world-class curriculum, which includes internationally accredited programs, in the fields of the humanities and social sciences. At APU, the act of confirming and discovering universal human value creates a strong magnetic field and sends a message to the world. It is in the classrooms, the messages from the faculty, and the passion of the students that the meaning of the university's existence is revealed. And also, at the Grand Finale of each Multicultural Week festival, on the stage where the diversity and energy of APU is on full display, a song in praise of being human rings out, beckoning students the world over to make their way to APU. Hail to APU!

Shun Korenaga
3rd President of APU, January 2010 - December 2017
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
November 2020



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