The opening ceremony for the 2013 autumn session of the UNU Intensive Core (IC) Courses was held on 9 September at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo. The six-week IC courses, held each year, provide a stand-alone opportunity for professionals and postgraduate students from around the world and also serve as a core component of UNU-ISP’s master’s and doctoral programmes.
Prof. John Clammer, as master of ceremonies, welcomed the registered students and introduced UNU Rector Dr. David Malone, who also welcomed the students and delivered introductory remarks. Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi (UNU Senior Vice-Rector and Director of UNU-ISP) greeted the students and presented the two lecturers of the event.
Prof. Akihiko Tanaka (President, Japan International Cooperation Agency) delivered the commencement lecture for the postgraduate programme. He focused on the concept of change, highlighting the economic power shift towards the global South, and especially towards Asia with the “reemergence” of China as a great power — noting, however, that this growth was not evenly distributed. He observed that the great promise of the Millennium Development Goals has, unfortunately, not been realized in some areas, in part because of the work of the separate “tribes” of environment, development and peace studies. Such a fragmented approach, he said, cannot effectively solve complex global problems.
Prof. Tanaka ended his address by challenging the students to use interdisciplinary methods to work towards comprehensive solutions to global challenges.
Dr. Alvaro Cedeno Mollinari, Ambassador of Costa Rica in Japan, then spoke. His speech took a personal tone, inviting students to assume responsibility for current world issues and the challenges that sustainable development poses to humankind. He discussed change, emphasizing that creativity can create positive transformations, and referred to “bio-literacy” — learning how to maintain an ethical and responsible relationship with the environment — as the only possible way to achieve a truly sustainable future. He invited students to be inspired and creative.
Koichi Mizushima of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan) and Yoshihisa Nagayama of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan, then delivered some remarks.
Dr. Srikantha Herath of UNU-ISP gave a brief introduction of UNU and the UNU-ISP postgraduate programmes. He highlighted the interdisciplinary approach utilized by UNU-ISP progammes, which bring together students from diverse backgrounds from across the world.
Dr. Vesselin Popovski of UNU-ISP, the final speaker, provided brief introduction to the faculty members and the structure of the IC Courses.
The event concluded with a group photograph and a reception.
For more information, see the IC courses opening ceremony report on the UNU-ISP website.