Commencement Address by Junko Hibiya, President


Luke 12:48b
From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.

Graduates of the College of Liberal Arts, master's degree programs, and doctoral programs, congratulations! Permit me to offer my heartfelt greetings also to the families, relatives and friends of the graduates watching this ceremony from Diffendorfer Memorial Hall.
Earlier this month, I went to New York City to attend a biannual board meeting of the Japan ICU Foundation. Its mission is to work with ICU to further strengthen our broad international and ecumenically Christian dimensions. They support us by providing our students and faculty with scholarships and grants and by assisting financially in the construction and renovation of campus facilities.
While I was there, a small dinner gathering was held with the foundation's trustees, staff, and their friend and I met a staff member of the United Nations. During our conversation, he brought up the subject of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted at the UN Summit on September 25, 2015. This agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that I referred to in my matriculation address a few years ago. Some ICU faculty members participated in the project.

The MDGs based on the United Nations Millennium Declaration adopted in 2000 set out eight time-bound targets with a deadline of 2015. Although there has been substantial progress in the area of reducing child mortality and achieving universal primary education, we are still facing challenges that need immediate attention. Furthermore, in a world that has increasingly grown complicated with economic crisis, natural disaster, and pandemic and so on, we cannot ignore newly emerging issues. As a result, the SDGs to be achieved by 2030 list 17 areas. They include ending poverty, hunger and inequality, achieving gender equity, improving access to medical care and education, ensuring sustainable consumption, fostering innovation, taking action to combat climate change and protect the environment, and promoting peace and justice for everybody.

Most of today's CLA graduates matriculated in April 2012. Earlier a passage from the Gospel according to Luke was read. Did you notice that it was exactly the same passage that was read in your matriculation ceremony? Of course, I realize that those who have received graduate degrees and those who joined the CLA before are also attending today's ceremony. I made two points in my address then.

First, I referred to the good practice at ICU of treating each individual student taking the entrance exam as an important guest of the university. Likewise, a student is no longer a guest from the time of the matriculation ceremony during which each student becomes a constituent member of ICU in name and reality by taking the Student Pledge. I then asked you to work together with the faculty and staff to create our university's future. Secondly, acknowledging those who are unable to receive even an elementary school education in the world, I reminded you that it is a great blessing to receive a university education, and encouraged you to think seriously what you should do to realize a world where all people can live without suffering want or fear during your college/graduate school days when you are supposed to discover your mission by becoming aware of unique gifts God has provided for each of you. Please reflect upon your time here. In what way have you contributed to the university? Have you discovered your mission?

Not only governments but also the private sector, civil society and people like us are strongly urged to participate in achieving the SDGs. The United Nations has created a website that lists a few things anyone can do in daily life to make an impact. The UN seems to have staff with an excellent sense of humor. The name of this list is "The lazy person's guide to saving the world." I strongly encourage you to visit the site. The URL will be uploaded along with this commencement address within 48 hours. In Level 1, Sofa superstar, who literally is lying on a sofa, tells you 11 things you can do from your couch. You will find, in Level 2, things you can do at home with the illustration of Household hero, who takes trash out, and in Level 3, things you can do outside your house with that of Neighborhood nice guy, who is riding a bicycle. ICU graduates, not being lazy, are expected to contribute much more for the sustainable development of our planet.
Having been given the great blessing of receiving an undergraduate/graduate education and required to study earnestly, you finish your days at ICU and leave here today. No matter what career you may choose, much will be entrusted to you in 2030 when the deadline of the SDGs comes. Then even more will be demanded. Your learning does not end at the graduation. It will start after you leave school when more will be demanded of you. At ICU, you have acquired the ability to plan independently and learn creatively as an intentional learner. The path before you will likely differ. Please lead your life with your own will. May God bless you all.