Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

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Notes from the President

My message to new APU graduates

Mar 15, 2013

3rd President KORENAGA Shun

Today is a joyous occasion. 372 students from the College of Asia Pacific Studies, 60students from the College of Asia Pacific Management, 262students from the College of International Management, 6 Master's program students and 19 Doctoral program students will graduate from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University and move on. Congratulations to you all.

From the Middle Ages on into the present day, human society has been rife with war and conflict. While the 20th century was a time of incredible scientific advances, it was also marred by two World Wars. In the wake of these wars came the 21st century with the promise of peace and freedom, but the ideal has yet to be achieved. The disputes of the 21st century should not be solved with wars and violence, but with calm yet tough negotiations . If the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries were the Age of Exploration, then now is the Age of Negotiation.

To engage in negotiations fairly and squarely with another person requires strength of spirit. First and foremost, each individual must develop a sense of independence and self-respect. Respect for your opponents is born only once you can believe in yourself. Rooted in their respective values, two people can only seek the truth by acknowledging each other's way of thinking. At APU, this process was a natural part of your everyday life. Last year, NHK Oita aired a debate by APU students about the territorial disputes between Japan and China and Japan and Korea, and the program garnered attention for the level-headed, constructive discussions. One comment by a Bangladeshi student left a lasting impression on me. He said, "From Bangladesh's point of view, Japan, China and Korea are all advanced nations. Don't they have better things to do?" This hard-hitting comment was eye-opening. Instead of engaging in minor squabbles, we should be tackling the mountain of issues that need to be solved to take our global society to the next level.

The future of Asia and the world will be shaped by you, the youth of today. I especially hope that those of you who studied APU will play leading roles in shaping the future. Almost 70 years have passed since the end of World War II, but East Asia is still shaped by confrontation. I think the open-mindedness you have developed in APU's multicultural environment will play a major role in changing the negatives of today into the positives of the future.

When the religious wars were raging in medieval Europe, someone once said, "If it is real, a gold coin will always be gold, no matter the inscription it bears or where it is taken". The same applies to human beings. If you possess ability and humanity, you will always be a human no matter where you go or what others may think. The skills you have honed at APU are like gold: No matter where you go, or who you meet, they will never lose their luster.

Take pride in the skills you have developed at APU, and lead your lives with can-do spirit. Hail to APU and best wishes for your future.

News article for the 2013 APU Spring Graduation Ceremony



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