An invitation-only inauguration ceremony for the students of the new UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace postgraduate programme was held at UNU Headquarters today with master of ceremonies Professor John Clammer welcoming students to “a unique moment in UNU’s history.”
UNU Rector Professor Konrad Osterwalder called the day “a moving moment for me… this is the day we become a real university.” In his address the rector spoke of another kind of renewable energy, “that which is in our heads.
“This century,” he said, “will become the century of education and learning.”
Speaking of how the world has been brought to the brink of environmental catastrophe by the “shameless and boundless exploitation of the world’s riches,” Professor Osterwalder called on students to “let’s make a second attempt, using not the riches from the earth but from our heads.”
UNU Vice-Rector and UNU-ISP Director Kazuhiko Takeuchi presented students with an overview of the institute. “For the past 35 years,” he said, “UNU was famous as the university without students. But now that has changed and we are a real university.”
UNU-ISP Senior Academic Programme Officer Skrikantha Herath then gave additional course details to students and spoke of the open learning environment they would enjoy during their studies at UNU.
The keynote address was delivered by Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, director of the Japan Foundation for the United Nations University, who spoke on sustainability science and the challenges presented by the need for holistic approaches to the pressing problems of our time.
Also present on the panel was Professor Janette Lindesay from Australian National University who has been an instrumental member of the course development working group.
UNU extends a very warm welcome to the 5 students who begin their master’s degree studies today, the 8 research students who will join them, and the 22 students from partner universities around the world. May your studies be challenging and rewarding!