ICU 2015 Spring Matriculation Addres by Junko Hibiya, President


Bible Reading: The Gospel According to Luke 12:48b:

"From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded."

All first year undergraduate and graduate students, welcome to ICU. Congratulations to all family members, relatives, and friends who are watching this ceremony on the screen at Diffendorfer Memorial Hall.

Starting this academic year at ICU, we have added a new section to our College of Liberal Arts General Admissions Test. We call it ATLAS. ATLAS comes from the initials for "Aptitude Test for Liberal ArtS." It also includes the meaning of "a bird's eye view of the world of liberal arts education at ICU." As all of you who took the test on February 7 experienced for yourselves, this section involves listening to a lecture on a certain theme that comprehensively covers elements drawn from the Japanese Language, Geography, History, Civics, Mathematics, Science and Foreign Languages that you have studied up through high school, and then asks the test taker to answer related questions. The intent is to assess, not your ability in these individual subjects, but rather your ability to make accurate decisions and think logically, and your willingness and ability to flexibly apply all the knowledge and ways of thinking you have learned so far to solving problems. This emphasis we place on independent research skills and problem-solving ability applies as well to our entrant selection for our graduate school.

Among the College of Liberal Arts first year students gathered here today, there are quite a few students who did not enter ICU by taking the general admissions test. You may have taken our special admissions entrance exam for returnees, or been chosen through our ICU special admissions selection, or our special admissions tests for working people or recommended students from designated high schools. But I suspect that all of you, including these latter students, watched the sample lecture we posted on our university website last year and then tried to answer the questions yourselves.

The theme of that sample lecture was wine. It discussed the connections between wine and human society from many different perspectives: the long history and vast world of wine, linguistic expressions, sensations that cannot be expressed by words alone, our understanding of nature, and more. The second half talked about how we asked a husband and wife - both ICU graduates - who run a winery in the Republic of South Africa to create a new wine as one step in building a new brand image expressing ICU. It discussed how that wine, called "Musashino Cross," was created at the start of the 21st century.

Now, when each of you hears the name "South Africa," what image comes to your mind? Is it abundant mineral resources, represented by diamonds? Or perhaps it's an ecosystem of unique animal species? Maybe it's even the 2010 FIFA World Cup?

My own answer would be South Africa's eighth president, Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 for his role in the anti-apartheid movement. However, the campaign against apartheid continued and grew in ferocity across South Africa in the 1980s, while it was also severely criticized abroad.

I was studying at a university in the United States at the time, and I well remember seeing the rows and rows of tents that protesting students set up on the campus. If it had been ICU, they would have been on the lawn in front of the university hall, where we will be taking our commemorative photograph after this ceremony.

Mandela's 27 years of prison life finally came to an end in 1990. In 1994 he was elected president of South Africa and apartheid was abolished.

South Africa is a multilingual society. There are more than 20 different languages in daily use. There are 11 official languages alone: English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Southern Ndebele, Tsonga, Tswana, and Venda. I think this may be the first time that many of you have even heard of some of these languages other than English and Afrikaans, but those 9 languages are all members of the Bantu language family.

The second language I mentioned, Afrikaans, was created through a fusion of many other languages. It is based on the Dutch of the 17th century when South Africa was a Dutch colony. Added to it have been French, German, and other European languages, Malaysian brought by Malays who crossed to South Africa from Indonesia when it was also Dutch territory, and the local African languages. It became South Africa's official language under the previous white administration. "Apartheid" is itself an Afrikaans word. It is a combination of "apart" - "separate, separated" - and "heid" - "condition" or "state." The Soweto Uprising that erupted in June 1976, the year I entered university, began with a protest by African students against a law requiring them to study Afrikaans in school. It escalated into giant riots that shocked the world and has since become the subject of movies and novels.

Mandela of his own accord undertook to learn this language that had become the symbol of white domination and the language of the oppressor. That was because Mandela believed that if he wanted to appeal to the hearts of the people who were oppressing his country's African population, there was nothing more important than to understand their language and to speak with them in their language. While in prison he proactively communicated with his guards in Afrikaans. In time, it was the guards themselves who began to come to his cell to speak with this activist of the anti-apartheid movement.

International Christian University, which you enter today, was founded in 1953 with the goal of cultivating human resources that can contribute to the peaceful development of human society. The year before, we presented a document titled "The Purpose and Mission of the University" to the Japanese Ministry of Education. This document stated that, "an international campus lifestyle shall be achieved by making Japanese and English the campus languages." For more than 60 years, our university has strictly adhered to providing a thorough bilingual education in Japanese and English. We do so because we firmly believe that building human relationships by finding a shared language and deepening understanding through encounters with others, others who were raised in different cultures with different languages, religions, values and lifestyles, is essential to achieving the ideals of our institution. In addition to English and Japanese, we also offer courses in German, French, Russian, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean in our World Languages program, and we will be adding courses in Italian, Arabic, and Indonesian this year.

Earlier I touched on the sample liberal arts lecture. One of the reasons naming the wine "Musashino Cross" is that the varied cultures of students from around the world all "cross over" at ICU. Nelson Mandela left to us the following words: "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart." For Mandela, the language he needed to enter the other's heart was Afrikaans. For each of you new students here today, what languages will you need to enter the hearts of others? All of you live in the 21st Century in which you will be called upon to cope with situations in which everyone is skilled in multiple languages and uses them depending on the circumstance. All of you will - on this campus, or in places you visit in every corner of the world on various programs - come into contact with cultures and languages you knew nothing at all about before. Through these encounters, please gain experience in speaking the language you need to appeal to the hearts of others.

Our duty as educators is to put in place a curriculum and diverse programs that enable you - the undergraduate and graduate students studying at ICU - to gain as many kinds of rich experiences as possible. Just as it says in today's Bible passage, "From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded," I ask that all of you, who have received the great blessing of studying at a university or graduate school, please spend each day of your time here at ICU mindfully, in readiness for that day when much shall be asked of you.