Apr 1, 2014
3rd President KORENAGA Shun
Congratulations on your admission to APU. This spring, we are welcoming 1,002 new students to APU, bringing the number of students enrolled at APU to 2,507 international and 3,252 domestic students, for a total of 5,759 students. I celebrate your entrance to APU together with the family members and friends who are joining us today. Today, we also have the honor of welcoming the Vice-Governor of Oita prefecture, as well as President of St. Edward’s University, Dr. Martin, visiting us from abroad. APU has developed a wide range of collaborative programs with St. Edward’s University, which is located in Austin, Texas, U.S.A. We offer a warm welcome and our sincere appreciation to President Martin for joining us today.
As one of the leading international universities in Japan, in 2012 APU entered into a collaborative partnership with four other universities to form the “Global 5 Universities”, made up of Akita International University, International Christian University, Sophia University, Waseda University School of International Liberal Studies, and APU. Even within this group, APU stands out from the other four universities thanks to two qualities: our world-class diversity and multilingual, multicultural environment; and our English-Japanese bilingual education. Our campus offers diversity on an unprecedented scale, with more than 2,500 international students from 80 countries and regions studying together in our undergraduate colleges with 3,200 domestic students over the course of four years. Our domestic students come to APU from all corners of the country, and in recent years students from the Tokyo area have been increasing. Of the Global 5 universities, only APU offers major courses in both English and Japanese. This system, where students are able to take courses in either language, is nothing short of groundbreaking.
In order for this system to function well, it is necessary both for international students to acquire a thorough understanding of Japanese and for domestic students to acquire a thorough understanding of English. You may hear that you will acquire English ability naturally after coming to APU, but this is mere fantasy. APU is not a magical fantasy land. The only time that language ability comes naturally to us is the short time between infancy and childhood; after that, the only way to do it is through disciplined self-training. As soon as the spark of motivation is lit in your hearts and minds and you are prepared to work hard, however, APU will be transformed into a magical land. And why is this? Earlier I mentioned two qualities that distinguish APU from the other universities in the Global 5, but there is also a third quality – an advantage that no other university has – and that is the endless number of communities that exist on campus. These are places for communication and interaction. This campus abounds with opportunities to awaken your curiosities, encounters with people who will encourage you to break out of your shell, and challenges that will take you closer to achieving your dream. These communities were built by the students who came before you, but from now on it will be you who take on the task of maintaining and cultivating them.
A challenge is waiting on the APU campus for you to take it on. This might be what this unparalleled melting pot of cultures signifies: a push that spurs you on to transform yourselves. You might call this transformation ‘magic’ if you wish. It is you, however, who must be the one to work this magic. Once you have sparked a flame in your own hearts and minds, I guarantee that the person you see in the mirror in four years’ time will not be the person you see today.
I wish you the best of luck as you embark on your university career.