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Okayama University

The Online Symposium titled 'SGU x SDGs Beyond 2030' was held as 2nd Okayama University Interim Report related to Top Global University Project



March 12, 2021

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On March 5, Okayama University held an online symposium titled "SGU x SDGs Beyond 2030" as 2nd Okayama University Interim Report related to Top Global University Project. Approximately 300 people attended the online event, including Okayama University faculty, staff and students, representatives from other universities, business stakeholders, and high school students.

In the first part of the symposium, Chief Director for University Reform, Director for International Planning and Representative of MEXT's Higher Education Bureau SATO Kuniaki opened the conference, explaining how Okayama University has been strategically increasing its global engagement and the international exchange opportunities available for students under the management and leadership of the current university president. Furthermore, he expressed his expectations for the university to continue to grow as one of Japan's Super Global Universities.

Afterwards, President MAKINO Hirofumi presented a business report on the status of the PRIME (PRactical Interactive Mode for Education) program and outlined future plans for the program. He declared that Okayama University intends to grow its impact both locally and globally by fostering young leaders who are actively and practically involved in local and international social entrepreneurship initiatives through its emphasis on "co-creation and co-education".

President Makino was followed by keynote speakers Professor HOSHINO Toshiya from Osaka University's Osaka School of International Public Policy (Professor Hoshino is also the Former Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations) and OHARA Kenchiro, who is a representative of the Jin-Bun-Chi forum as well as the Honorary Director of OHARA MUSEUM of Art. Professor Hoshino gave a speech on "The World as Envisioned by the SDGs, the Role of Universities, and Expectations for Okayama University". His main points centered on the importance of recognizing transformation as an essential aspect of achieving the SDGs, the importance of recognizing our individual roles as major contributors to the movement, and the importance of localization and finding community-based solutions to environmental issues. He also expressed his desire to see Okayama University further contribute to the development and attainment of the SDGs as a Top Global University. Honorary Director Ohara's speech, titled "The Conversation between Okayama and Kurashiki in Relation to the Conversation between Japan and the World", looked at the similarities between the relationships shared by Okayama and Kurashiki and that of Japan and the rest of the world in an attempt to point out how important it is to build connections between local and international communities when striving to achieve the SDGs. He proposed that if Japanese industry relies on knowledge and expertise that has been built up over time, then in order for Japan to become a society that embraces the SDGs, it is important to find a solution that can be tailored to Japan and its unique history. He also stated that he hopes Okayama University will be able to contribute to this end.

In the second part of the symposium, a panel discussion was held under the theme "Universities Embracing New Paradigms and Roles~University Management Focused on Engagement". Okayama University Vice President for Global Engagement Strategy/UNESCO Chair holder in Research and Education for Sustainable Development YOKOI Atsufumi acted as a facilitator, while Top Global University and SDGs promotion university Ritsumeikan Trust's Vice President for Student, Admissions and Integrated Education ISAKA Tadao, Nagaoka University of Technology Department of Mechanical and Science Engineering and Head of Office for SDGs Promotion NANKO Makoto and Tokyo University Institute for Future Initiatives Project Professor OHTAKE Satoru participated as panelists. As representatives of their respective universities, panelists outlined the efforts and achievements of their universities, after which a lively discussion took place. Afterwards, Okayama University Vice Executive Director for Planning and General Affairs (SDGs promotion) /Science and Technology Advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs KANO Mitsunobu closed the panel discussion by summarizing that even though all the universities have been working towards the same goal (namely, achieving the SDGs), each university has been capitalizing on its unique ability, which has allowed them to move forward in different ways. Additionally, he encouraged the young members of the audience by comparing the search for knowledge to a hero's journey, noting that even though they may be limited by their current knowledge, they should always be motivated to seek new solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.

In the third part of the symposium, Director of One Young World Japan Committee/Vice President for Global Engagement Strategy/UNESCO Chair holder in Research and Education for Sustainable Development YOKOI Atsufumi moderated a One Young World session under the theme "Preparing for Japan's first One Young World 2022 Tokyo Summit~Empowering Future Generations to Connect Locally and Globally". To introduce the concept of "One Young World", a global summit that attracts young people from over 190 countries, an MV of the summit's official song "Not So Different -One Young World Japan Version" was broadcast, followed by a heart-warming video message from OYW Japan's official artist and singer AI stating that no matter where people may be from, they are not so different and that she desires to change a world filled with compassion. Afterwards, OYW Ambassadors and World Road Representatives ICHIKAWA Taichi and HIRAHARA Ibun, Iroha Publishing Co., Ltd. representative and poet KIM and Okayama University Faculty of Law 4th year student and OYW Ambassador MATSUMOTO Sota spoke about the publication of World Dream Project, a book showcasing the dreams of 196 young leaders from across the globe, about their experiences at the One Young World global forum, and about their personal dreams for the future. Finally, Professor Hoshino commented that he was impressed by the young people's enthusiasm, as well as by the scale of their vision, and urged them not to wait to pursue their dreams. "The future is built on the actions of today", he encouraged. He also stated that it was necessary for universities to play a supportive role in making young people's dreams become reality.

Okayama University intends to apply the various conclusions drawn from the symposium to future projects while striving towards university reform and internalization under the direction of President Makino.

Special Message from AI

Click here for a special page with archived videos and speech materials of the day 
(This content is only available in Japanese.)

PRIME Program page here

Click here for event information of the Online Symposium titled 'SGU x SDGs Beyond 2030' as 2nd Okayama University Interim Report related to Top Global University Project
(This content is only available in Japanese.)


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