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Apr 1, 2016
3rd President KORENAGA Shun
Congratulations to all of you on your entrance to APU. We hold entrance ceremonies twice a year here, in the spring and also in the fall. This spring we welcome 908 new students from 42 countries and regions to APU, bringing us to 2,949 domestic and 3,025 international students, for a total of 5,974 current students.
APU is located in Kyushu, far from the nation's capital and the Kansai region. However, we have many students joining us from these areas, and even from more distant areas like Hokkaido and Okinawa. These students are joined by students from 84 countries and regions from around the world.
When I am overseas and need to introduce APU, I explain that it is on the beautiful southern island of Kyushu, located in the Japanese archipelago. Describing the University like this makes it easier to visualize and understand APU. If we shift from a domestic to a more global frame of reference, we see that APU is close to the countries of Asia, and is especially close to Southeast Asia and the countries of Oceania in the South Pacific. This is a good place to be. It is interesting that a prominent Japanese international university is located in Beppu on the island of Kyushu, culturally and geographically so far from the over-concentrated world of Tokyo.
The old, historical name for Oita was "Bungo". When it was ruled by the Christian feudal lord Otomo Sorin in the latter half of the sixteenth century, it was the most internationalized region in Japan. Western music and medicine first entered Japan through Oita. During the Edo period, this region flourished culturally, producing prominent scholars and artists in Chinese literature and the Nanga style of painting. Today, Beppu is known as one of the world's best destinations for hot springs. In terms of the total hot spring volume, Yellowstone National Park in the United States is number one, followed by Beppu at number two. Since nobody lives in Yellowstone, that makes Beppu the number one residential hot spring area. You can think of APU as a global university, representing Japan, located in the world's number one hot spring destination.
APU has partnered with Akita International University, Waseda University School of International Liberal Studies, International Christian University, and Sophia University to form the "G5" Global 5 Universities. These five universities were selected by the Japanese government to be part of the government's Top Global University project, and lead the globalization of Japan's universities. When someone asks "what is globalization", I see it as the mindset of having a compassionate heart and understanding those who are different.
There are many unique and diverse ethnicities, religions, cultures, and political systems in the world. It is only natural that the way to build a mutual relationship with people who differ from ourselves is through respecting and understanding that the life of the other person is the same as our own. At times we may clash or oppose one another, but we can pave the way to this by opening our hearts to each other through discussion.
Mutual understanding and dialog is as important between people as it is between nations, and the people of today should endeavor to share their wisdom. If this kind of initiative can spread throughout the world, we may be able to avoid wars both foolish and tragic.
APU is the ideal campus to develop this kind of global spirit. I hope that you fully enjoy your life on this campus, and nurture this spirit.