Notes from the President

My message to new APU graduates (Spring 2022 Graduation Ceremony)

Mar 18, 2022

4th President DEGUCHI Haruaki

Congratulatory Address from the Acting President

First, I would like to congratulate all the APS and APM students as well as the GSA and GSM students on your graduation. You have made it to this day thanks to the support and supervision of many people, including your classmates, friends, upperclassmen and underclassmen, staff, faculty, the people you met on off-campus programs and study abroad, and your bosses and co-workers at your places of employment. You were exposed to many cultures on APU’s global campus, and you overcame obstacles and doubts as you pursued your globally minded major studies and research. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the guardians and families of today’s graduating class for supporting their studies. Please accept my sincerest congratulations on behalf of everyone at APU.

In the last half of your time at APU, we witnessed a global pandemic—a rare occurrence in human history. The graduate students spent most of their time as APU students under these circumstances. Everyone participating today, whether that be in Beppu or online, has faced many inconveniences and anxieties, but you were able to continue your studies at APU while connecting with your friends scattered around the world, and you provided each other with encouragement as you headed towards graduation. I have nothing but the deepest respect for your resilience, or in other words, your ability to withstand adversity. Human society must solve many global issues, such as climate change and international conflict. I hope that you will take the lead in solving these problems by utilizing what you have gained at APU—professional skills, a world-wide network of friends, and the resilience to persevere in the face of a pandemic.

On this occasion of your graduation, I would like to leave you with three parting messages.

First, I would like you to lead moral lives. To do this, you need character, and this is something you create yourselves. 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. I hope you will constantly think about whether your words, actions, and attitudes are those which you can be proud of. Just because an action isn’t breaking the law or will not be noticed by others does not make it right. Having courage, facing your troubles head on, being honest, being loyal, and empathizing with others are truly meaningful once you put them into practice.

Second, I would like you to become people who can take action. We have the word “self-efficacy.” It means believing that you have the ability to take measures to generate the outcomes you desire. In a government survey conducted in 2014, only 52% of Japanese youth replied “yes” to the statement “I am willing to engage in something even if I’m not sure of the outcome,” compared to 71% of South Koreans and 79% of Americans. In another survey from 2018, 61% of high school students in Japan agreed “I think I can do mostly anything if I apply myself” compared to 73% in South Korea, 85% in China, and 86% in the United States. So, how do you rate your own self-efficacy? Given that there are many students at APU who can take initiative, APU formulated its 2030 Vision with the slogan: “APU graduates possess the power to change our world.” As you lead your lives trying to realize your dreams, I hope you will do just that.

Lastly, I would like you to value each and every person 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. Based on the premise that APU students are diverse in culture and opinion, your experience learning to accept each other as individuals belonging to the same community is extremely valuable because it anticipates the future of the world. At APU, we call this inclusiveness, and it will continue to be a fundamental part of this university as it grows. I would like you all to take advantage of this inclusive experience at APU and value all the people you meet in your lives going forward. At the same time, I hope you will continue to treasure the friendships you made at APU.

Today is the day when you stop being APU students and become APU alumni. Your activities as alumni will serve to enrich APU as a university, and this process of enrichment will, in turn, support your career development. In this sense, you will all remain members of the APU family.

In closing, I am sure you are all very worried about President Deguchi, who is currently recovering from an illness. He has been putting in the utmost effort during what has been a lengthy rehabilitation process, and I hear he has made remarkable progress. He plans to return in earnest to his duties in April. Together, let us all pray for his further recovery.

I wish you all lives full of happiness in whatever you choose to do. Once again, congratulations on your graduation.

March 18, 2022
Hiroshi Yoneyama
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Vice President / Acting President

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