10th Masataro Sawayanagi Memorial DEI Award Ceremony

The 10th Masataro Sawayanagi Memorial DEI Award ceremony was held at Katahira campus on March 23. This award, named after Tohoku University's first president, honours those who play an active role in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in their universities and broader communities.

In her opening remarks, Vice President for Public Relations and the Promotion of Diversity Noriko Osumi spoke of Tohoku University's long history of inclusion under its "open door" policy, and how it broke the gender barrier in 1913 by being the first university in Japan to accept female students.

"This was originally known as the Sawayanagi Memorial Gender Equality Award, set up to recognize those working towards creating a gender-equal society," she said, explaining the evolution of the award, which was renamed last year.

"In 2022, Tohoku University issued our Declaration on the Promotion of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), in which we set new goals to develop an environment that ensures that diversity is respected by all members of the university." The award, she said, is now known as the Sawayanagi Memorial DEI Award to reflect "not only our continued quest for gender equality but also the much broader ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion."

The award comprises two categories. The main award (Category A) recognizes outstanding contributions to DEI through research and activities.

This year, it was awarded to Professor Ginko Kawano from Kyushu University's Office for the Promotion of Gender Equality. In her lecture, "Promoting Gender Equality in Science, Technology and Education," Kawano discussed the underrepresentation of women in leadership roles within academia and called for continued efforts to close the gender gap, especially in university enrollment.

Category B, also known as the Masataro Sawayanagi DEI Encouragement Award, celebrates young individuals or groups making significant strides in promoting DEI.

This year's recipients were Zhang Rui from Tohoku University's Graduate School of International Cultural Studies and the LGBTQ+ circle "Niji no Tsudoi" from Hokkaido University.

Zhang presented her research on Zhou Zuoren's Women's Liberation Movement. Zhou was the younger brother of influential Chinese author LuXun, who had been a student at Sendai Medical College, the forerunner of Tohoku University.

Yuki Takanashi and Mio Shiraki from "Niji no Tsudoi" then introduced their group's mission and activities to promote better understanding of sexual minorities.

The ceremony ended with closing remarks from Professor Mami Tanaka, director of the Tohoku University DEI Centre, and was followed by a small reception where attendees had the opportunity to network and socialize.



Human Resources Planning Section
Tohoku University
Tel: 022-217-6353

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