ICU 2014 Autumn Matriculation Address by Junko Hibiya, President


I would like to extend my congratulations to all members of the incoming class. May I also offer warm greetings to the friends and families watching the ceremony in this chapel.

ICU was founded in 1953, as the first university in Japan with "international" in its name. Since then, it has aimed to nurture leaders for the international community for 60 years. From the founding days, the ICU community has been that of diversity, with faculty, staff and students from different cultures. All of you have studied in a foreign educational system, and have chosen to come to Japan. You will meet many new people here on campus. I hope that the opportunity to study at ICU will enrich your life.

At a time when the knowledge base and methods of inquiry are constantly expanding, higher education must equip students to engage in a lifetime of learning, to meet the changing demands of the world. Such an education ought to facilitate productive and rewarding careers, and provide students with the means to become responsible global citizens. With your education at ICU, we hope that you will develop habits of mind that include the following qualities. Based on your academic foundation, you will become able to plan your own path for creative and independent learning. You can communicate effectively both in writing and in speech. You will always think critically. You will have enough ability to identify and solve problems. And finally, you will have the capacity to integrate knowledge across the arts and sciences and to implement theories in real-world settings. All of these timeless qualities will constitute the foundation of your life and will serve you well.

In this matriculation ceremony, you will take the "Student Pledge" shortly and promise to lead a student life based on the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. With this pledge, each of you will become, in name and reality, a constituent member of the ICU community.

The first article of the Universal Declaration of Human rights states, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." In the world, there are countless people who live their lives with the bare minimum. Such a situation prompts careful reflection on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a great blessing to receive a university education. What should you do in order not to waste the opportunity? What should you do through your studies and extracurricular activities at ICU, to realize a world where all people can live without suffering want or fear?

The declaration's first article goes on to say, "Human beings are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." In the life that you are about to begin here, you will surely meet a great diversity of people. In meeting such diverse individuals, I ask that you seek to understand those who are different from yourself, and through that understanding, reaffirm who you yourself are. In so doing, you may also try to deepen your connection with others. At ICU, there will be many opportunities where, through the mutual support of others, you will gain considerable experience in "acting towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

I wish you all a fulfilling experience at this university. Welcome to ICU.