As part of its 110th anniversary celebrations, Tsinghua University hosted a Global Forum of University Presidents 2021. The event, held online from April 19 - 24, included leaders and representatives from 16 universities and institutions, from 11 countries around the world.
Tohoku University President Hideo Ohno participated in the forum's fourth session, titled "Global University Leadership."
The session began with an introduction by Tsinghua University President Qiu Yong, who called on participants to identify the challenges and work towards the common aspirations of higher education.
"As the university's role in society continues to evolve, so too does the nature of university leadership," he said. "Let's share our experiences on how we can deliver effective leadership, and deepen our understanding of how we can be transformative as individuals, and through our executive teams and colleagues."
Other speakers pointed out that the sort of capabilities that university presidents need to lead successfully have grown more diverse. "They need to understand not just universities, students and faculty members, but also the international economy, governments and the local communities they seek to serve," said Professor Hamish Coates, of Tsinghua University's Institute of Education.
In his speech, President Ohno introduced his Green Goals Initiative. Drawing on Tohoku University's experience with the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, he also spoke of the need for societies to be more resilient and the ways that universities can help.
He described how Tohoku University initiated reconstruction and regeneration efforts in the disaster affected region and pioneered research in the new academic field of disaster science. "We turned our experience into a science that can help local and global communities better protect themselves from natural disasters in the future," he said, adding that "universities must respond to global challenges by using our knowledge," and that "collaboration between universities, governments and industry is essential."
Tohoku University and Tsinghua University concluded an academic exchange agreement in 1998. Since then, both universities have expanded avenues for faculty and student exchange; and engaged in joint-research in fields such as materials science, spintronics and disaster science.
In 2019, the Tsinghua-Tohoku Collaborative Research Fund was established. Even with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic restricting travel, researchers at both universities have continued to work together while interacting online.
Tohoku University Global Engagement Division
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