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Sep 15, 2023
Congratulations to you all on your graduation. I would also like to express my appreciation and congratulations to your families who have supported you along the way.
Within the first year following your admission, you were faced with unforeseen difficulties, including the switch to online classes and restrictions on extracurricular activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, you never gave up and continued to tackle new challenges, and having overcome difficult times together, you are here celebrating your graduation today at this splendid ceremony. I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep respect to all of you.
Recent global climate change has caused a plethora of natural disasters, including droughts, forest fires, and floods, which have resulted in untold human and material loss in many countries. These extreme weather phenomena can also be considered new threats to the global economy. Also, during your time as students at APU, the world has witnessed the invasion of another country by military force and civil wars in several countries. But we must not let these crises continue forever. I believe that if everyone who graduates from APU does not let pessimism get the best of them, but instead takes an active role with the conviction that the world can be changed, it will lead to the realization of a peaceful and sustainable society.
On the occasion of your graduation, I would like to impart three important pieces of advice.
First: After today, you will be heading out into this great big world of ours. Once you open that door, you will be faced with a vast and limitless world where at the end of the day, the only person you can rely on is yourself. I hope you will look resolutely to the future and take action to go in the direction you want to go.
I deliver to you the words of Mary Mason Lyon, founder of Mount Holyoke College, the oldest women’s college in the United States: “Go where nobody has gone. Do what nobody has done.”
Second: Never forget how important your friends are. Regardless of nationality or gender, friends who are there for you when you need them are irreplaceable. We may spend our entire lives in search of just one friend. We must also never forget to laugh. Laughter is powerful, it is the only weapon we humans have and at any given time.
Third: There are many people around the world you can rely on. Hailing from 166 countries and regions, the people who studied at APU now number more than 22,000, and they are active around the world. What’s more, the APU Alumni Association has 27 overseas chapters. APU is the only university in Japan with such an extensive network. Wherever you may be in the world, if you ever run into trouble, do not hesitate to ask the APU community for help. I am certain we will be able to lend a hand in some way.
In closing, may your lives be filled with happiness, and once again, congratulations on your graduation.
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
September 15, 2023