On 3 July 2013, the United Nations University held a graduation ceremony for thirteen students from its Master of Science in Sustainability, Development and Peace (UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace) and Master of Science in Environmental Governance (UNU Institute of Advanced Studies) programmes.
In his opening address to the graduates, Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Senior Vice-Rector of the UNU and Director of UNU-ISP, highlighted the courage of the students in being part of a pioneering programme, and offered some advice for their future.
UNU Rector Dr. David Malone’s message had a personal tone, highlighting his experiences in academia and the power of continuing higher education mid-career. He emphasized the need to form strong alumni networks to track graduating students’ lives and careers.
Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa, a professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies and Science Advisor to the Japanese Government Cabinet, was the event’s keynote speaker. Dr. Kurokawa centred his keynote speech on the three concepts of disruption, interconnectedness and experience. He emphasized the importance of dissent, and encouraged students to be “the nail that sticks out” — crazy, creative thinkers who make change happen while living by the maxim carpe diem.
Guest speaker Dr. Srikantha Herath lauded the individuality and diversity of the graduates. He then spotlighted the goals of the UNU-ISP master’s degree programme, identifying human security as the overlap between the UNU-ISP groups of study: Global Change and Sustainability, International Peace and Security, and International Cooperation and Development.
Following the speeches, the graduates were awarded their diplomas. Some of the organizations that funded student scholarships, including the Japan Foundation for UNU, Toyota Motor Corporation, Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd., and Panasonic Corporation, presented commemorative gifts to the graduates.
The ceremony concluded with speeches from graduates Pearly Wong, Alexander Imbo and Khan Kikkawa. They reminisced about their positive shared-learning experience, emphasizing that some of the most important assets of the programme were its interdisciplinary, holistic perspective and ability to defy categorization, as well as the value of learning to work with people from disparate backgrounds and differing points of view.
The ceremony was followed by a reception for family, friends and colleagues.