Ambassador Caroline Kennedy Visits ICU to Plant Dogwood, a Symbol of Friendship between the United States and Japan

Update´╝ÜJanuary 30, 2015


On January 27, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy visited ICU to participate in a discussion with 40 students and plant a dogwood tree to celebrate the centennial of Japan's gift of cherry trees to the United States and the reciprocal favor of dogwood trees, the Dogwood Initiative.

President Junko Hibiya thanked the Ambassador for coming to ICU and explained to the audience that the exchange of cherry and dogwood trees symbolized goodwill between the United States and Japan. The Ambassador then gave a speech, praising the liberal arts, critical thinking, and bilingual education at ICU and expressed hope that ICU students would work together with people from other cultures to solve global problems in the international community. She stressed how study abroad opportunities can provide new perspectives and training in leadership: "I want you to develop the abilities you have acquired at ICU abroad. I hope you choose the U.S. as your study destination." She also quoted from Rev. Martin Luther King, whose birthday was commemorated last week.

"If you want to be important, wonderful. If you want to be recognized, wonderful. If you want to be great, that's wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That's a new definition of greatness. The thing I like about it everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love, and you can be that servant."

Three students made presentations about study abroad (Mr. Yutaro Shimomura - 4th year student), community service (Ms. Saya Yamaguchi - 4th year student), and the participation of women in society (Ms. Yumi Ito - 4th year student). Following the student presentations, Vice President for Academic Affairs Anri Morimoto chaired a discussion between the Ambassador and students on the theme of each presentation.

She answered questions from the floor such as "Which country would you choose for study abroad?"; "What do you think about the decrease of Japanese students studying abroad?"; and "How would you resolve a clash between minority or regional culture with international society?"


After the discussion, one of the 20 dogwood trees presented to ICU this year was planted between Dialogue House and the Diffendorfer Memorial Hall East Wing. During the planting ceremony, Ambassador Kennedy expressed appreciation for the Japanese gift of cherry trees in 1912 to the United States. She said the sakura blossoms had become a harbinger of spring that citizens look forward to every year. She hoped that the friendship between the two nations would continue to be stronger and deeper.

To wrap up the event, the ICU Glee Club sang to express gratitude for the dogwood presents.