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令和3年9月 東北大学学位記授与式告辞

令和3年9月東北大学学位記授与式告辞

【はじめに(Introduction)】

本日ここに、東北大学から晴れて学士の学位を授与された70名の皆さん、修士の学位を授与された162名の皆さん、専門職の学位を授与された5名の皆さん、そして博士の学位を授与された170名の皆さん、おめでとうございます。東北大学を代表して、心よりお祝いを申し上げます。

このたび本学を卒業又は修了する407名の卒業生・修了生の出身は、世界の42の国と地域に及び、日本語を母語としない方が多くおられます。そこで、以下英語で告辞を述べることにいたします。

As President of Tohoku University, it is my honor to congratulate you on your successful graduation. I am sure, you, your family and friends have been eagerly awaiting this day.

Because of COVID-19, we decided to hold today's event only for graduates instead of the usual ceremony with many more attendees. However, your family and friends still have the opportunity to join online and be part of this big day of yours.

The on-going COVID-19 pandemic created serious and complicated conditions since the beginning of last year, and we all had to adjust our lives accordingly. It was a very difficult task, but all of you were able to overcome the predicaments, focus on your goals and conclude your studies, which in and of itself is a remarkable accomplishment.

【Tohoku University's Principle: Open Doors】

Tohoku University was founded 114 years ago in 1907 here in Sendai, the "City of Trees". It was the third national university after Tokyo and Kyoto and, for over a century, Tohoku University has played a leading role in academia, guided by the principles of "Research First," "Open Doors" and "Practice-Orientated Research and Education." Many graduates became important figures in their communities, promoting positive change and supporting the well-being of people around the world.

We are proud to be a university that is progressive, inclusive and strongly engaged in diversity, just as our principle "Open Doors" highlights.

In 1913, Tohoku University was Japan's first university to accept female students, unlike other universities at that time. Chika Kuroda specialized in chemistry with a focus on natural pigments and became a leading scientist in Japan. And Ume Tange, who also studied chemistry, earned her doctoral degree at Johns Hopkins University in the United States after her studies here at Tohoku University. Over the years many women were attracted to our academic community and gathered in Sendai in the pursuit of scientific achievements.

【Tohoku University's International Graduates】

We also have many graduates from all over the world, such as Chen Jiangong, who was Japan's first international student to receive a doctoral degree in science.

Su Buqing was Japan's second international student to obtain his Ph.D. in science in 1931. After returning to China, he was heavily engaged in research, teaching and education in mathematics and later became president of Fudan University in Shanghai. When he visited Tohoku University in 1983 after more than 50 years, he gifted us his thoughts and memories in form of a Chinese poem. It is currently displayed at the Tohoku University Archives in Katahira, showing the fond recollections of his alma mater.

These were just a few examples of past graduates, who impacted their communities after their time here at Tohoku University. I am sure that there will be occasions in the future when you look back at your time here in Sendai and I hope that the experience will help you make decisions to leave a positive impact of your own.

【Global Challenges and "Practice-Orientated Research and Education"】

This year marks the 10th memorial of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. In these 10 years, Tohoku University has been involved in many activities and projects related to creating resilience in our communities. Moving forward, we consolidate our efforts under the new umbrella of the Green Goals Initiative. This initiative aims to realize a resilient and green future by leveraging the university's research capabilities, with three overlapping pillars of (1) green technology, (2) recovery and resilience, and (3) social innovation and inclusion. Just as an example, our Real-time Tsunami Inundation Forecast System utilizes most advanced computing technology and helps people here and elsewhere to advance disaster risk reduction; an outcome that represents our "Practice-Orientated Research and Education." The Green Goals Initiative we launched this April is fully in line with three major United Nations' international agendas established in 2015, namely Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which we contributed in establishing, Sustainable Development Goals, and The Paris Agreement.

【"Research First"】

While I have given you an example of our research outcome for practical applications, our research activities cover a broader spectrum, to obtain a more fundamental comprehension of our surroundings, providing means to expand our intellectual horizon and convey wisdom to others.

For the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow, a Tohoku University member of the theory team constructed a large library of models, providing major contributions to the achievement. This might not be a tool that immediately benefits communities, but it is essential work to further expand our understanding of the world.

Altogether, they provide an important reason why universities exist and why Tohoku University puts an emphasis on research as "Research First."

【Being Part of the Tohoku University Community】

When you open a new chapter of your life today and move to a new environment, you might be confronted with challenges you did not expect or imagine. Challenges, that might seem impossible to overcome.

But I am certain, that your experience from your time here at Tohoku University will help you and provide necessary guidance to manage any situation appropriately and accordingly. The experience and competence you gained during your time here at Tohoku University will help you in the future, since knowledge is a power that can be utilized under any circumstances, even a global disaster or pandemic such as the one we are fighting right now.

Also, please remember that today is not the end of the relations you formed over the years with the members of your university. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Today marks the beginning of a new collaboration between equals.

Our alumni association 'Shuyukai' has created a global community of Tohoku University graduates to let you know about recent developments of your alma mater and - most importantly - help each other as friends and family in difficult times. And if there currently is no Shuyukai branch in your region, maybe consider establishing one yourself so we can keep in touch.

I am looking forward to meeting you again at one of the future alumni events.

Congratulations on your graduation, all the best for your future, stay safe and see you again.

皆さんが、これから世界に向けて大きく飛躍されることを心から期待して、私の式辞といたします。本日は、誠におめでとうございます。

令和3年9月24日


東北大学総長

大野 英男


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