2018 Spring Commencement Ceremony

Update: March 26, 2018

447 undergraduate students and 30 graduate students graduated from ICU at its spring commencement ceremony held at the University Chapel on Friday, 23 March.

At the ceremony, each student's name was read out in keeping with tradition that has continued since the first commencement ceremony. Students whose names were called received their diplomas - the fruit of four years of learning - on stage and shook hands with President Junko Hibiya.

During the ceremony, the Friends of ICU Award was presented to Ms. Chizuru Yamazaki (Calss of 2018) and the late Ms. Kyoko Yamaguchi (former full time general staff member), in recognition of their exemplary contribution to fulfilling ICU's mission.

Ms. Chizuru Yamazaki take part in a series of English debating competitions and international moot courts, winning many prizes along the way, and displayed impressive leadership skills thereby contributing considerably to new developments in defining the status of "legal education as a central pillar of the Liberal Arts philosophy". These various activities encapsulate the ICU vision of Liberal Arts and are to be commended.

Ms. Kyoko Yamaguchi started working at ICU from 1985, until her untimely death at the age of just 52, she garnered the trust and respect of so many colleagues and students in ICU - as a result both of the needs of those around her. At a time when collaboration between faculty and staff is being widely promoted in the sphere of higher education, she is to be commended for the manner in which, until the end, she continued to serve as an embodiment of this ideal to so many staff members and to the ICU community more broadly.

Commencement Address by Junko Hibiya, President

Graduates of the College of Liberal Arts, master's and doctoral degree programs, congratulations! Permit me to offer my heartfelt greetings to the graduates' families, relatives and friends, watching today's ceremony in the Diffendorfer Memorial Hall.

Last year in October, with graduate students enrolled in Distinguished Professor Yoshikawa's course entitled "International Relations and Global Order," together with Dean Mori, I attended the "Asahi World Forum 2017," an international platform to propose solutions to world-wide issues. Launched in 2008 as the "Asahi World Environmental Forum," it assumed the current name in 2016 and expanded its scope to include topics other than environment. Commemorating the tenth anniversary, last year's forum, with "Overcoming Divides for Our Future" as its main theme, we discussed for three days how we can overcome the divides that are becoming more prominent in the world. Participants were Japanese and international specialists, policy makers, government officials, representatives from industry and NPOs as well as citizens interested in these issues.

We attended the special talk "Sustainable Development Goals to Transform the World" on the second day. I shared my thoughts about the SDGs in my past commencement address and open campus speech; in April 2014, when most of today's CLA graduates entered ICU, I mentioned the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) that precedes the SDGs in my matriculation address. Some of you may remember.

The special talk consisted of a dialogue between Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Hiroko Kuniya, who was the Anchor of "Close-up Gendai," the NHK long-running television programme that focuses of social affairs of the day. Mohammed worked for three successive administrations in Nigeria as Special Advisor on the Millennium Development Goals, and then served as Special Adviser to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning. She played a pivotal role in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals. Born in Nigeria and having spent her childhood near Lake Chad where substantial drying and shrinking has been a ecological threat, Mohammed, based on her own experience, discussed the vicious cycle in which climate change had negative effects on fishery and agriculture, exacerbated poverty, and resulted in terrorism by young people. The session was well attended by high school, undergraduate and graduate students. Here is her message to those who are going to create the future. "All of us must share the worries and concerns regarding the globe. Remember that each of you take an important part in shaping the future by engaging yourself in economy and education. No one can afford to be a bystander."

According to the article that appeared in the international edition of the Guardian newspaper on May 26, 2017 (, Mohammed in her young days embraced the challenge to walk 76km from Kaduna to Zaria in order to raise the money to study in Europe. She collected £4,000 and left Nigeria. Upon her return, she worked in the field of health and education. She also managed public sector buildings with architects and engineers. Prior to becoming Special Advisor on the Millennium Development Goals and Special Adviser to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, she spent many years in the private sector to build up her career. Finally, after one year of service as Minister of Environment of Nigeria, she assumed the current position in February 2017. The Guardian article describes her CV as 'a marathon.'

Today, you finish your days at ICU and leave here for a wider world. Whether you start working in a real world or go on to graduate school, some of you are full of hope being able to start a life which you have longed for. Some of you, on the other hand, may feel uncertain about your future. Even those of you who are satisfied with your choice now may become unsure about the path you once selected with confidence. Under such circumstances, please remember the verses 7 and 8 in Chapter 7 of the Gospel according to Matthew, that were read at the beginning of this ceremony. If you ask, it will be given to you. If you seek, you will find. If you knock, the door will be opened to you.

Mohammed, reflecting upon her 'marathon' life, said; "for me, it has been a long journey, step by step, using the education I had to make a difference." Your future will also be a marathon with no obvious route to follow. The fourth goal of the SDGs that she brought about is, "to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all." It is to acknowledge that education is the most effective means to protect the globe and improve the life of the future generation in a sustainable manner. Being educated at ICU, you have acquired the ability to learn creatively with your own independent plan as an intentional learner and you have received your degree today. In the long marathon you are going to run, I hope that, like Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed, you use your education to continue in lifelong learning, and to make a difference, no matter where you are.

May God bless you all.

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