1-4 SYLFF 20th anniversary commemorative speech by Yohei Sasakawa, The Nippon Foundation (from text)
Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to be here today in the presence of His Excellency Mr. Bertel Haarder, Minister for Education of the Kingdom of Denmark, Dr. Ralf Hemmingsen, Rector of University of Copenhagen, His Excellency Mr. Masaki Okada, Japanese Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark, Dr. Karl Laubstein, Rector of World Maritime University, distinguished guests, and SYLFF colleagues.
Since The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University became the first endowed school in 1987, SYLFF has developed a network of ties with 69 of the world's leading universities. I offer my deepest thanks to you for your efforts over the past 20 years.
In that time, the world has changed greatly. The Cold War structure collapsed, and a global society has emerged composed of many different value systems. It's a complicated world that resembles a mosaic of disparate political, ethnic, cultural and religious viewpoints. It confronts us with a variety of problems ranging from ethnic and religious conflict to widening inequality.
To find a solution to these problems, we need the human resources to build a better society − people with a broad perspective capable of accommodating divergent viewpoints and grasping the essence of an issue. And institutions of higher learning play a vital role in cultivating such resources.
As well as teaching specialized knowledge and skills, such institutions also nurture a sense of social responsibility and a sense of mission. I understand that SYLFF-endowed schools in your respective countries are fulfilling these functions to the full, and I am extremely proud that the SYLFF Program has you as members.
When imparting specialized learning and expertise, institutions of higher learning subdivide these further into specialist categories. This is extremely important for advancing knowledge in a specific field and is indeed a wonderful aspect of such institutions.
But while essential for delving deep into a particular subject, it can narrow and fragment a person's perspective. As a result, there are limits to how far it is possible to nurture people with a broad outlook who are tolerant of different viewpoints. Needless to say, all of you here are already aware of this, and are taking appropriate measures. I believe the SYLFF Program is one such tool for fleshing out your efforts in this regard.
From the beginning, SYLFF has been motivated by a strong sense of duty toward society and a strong sense of mission. It has aimed at developing people who want to use their abilities to build a better world.
Consisting of 69 universities in 45 countries, the SYLFF network is made up of Fellows of various backgrounds and specialties, each of whom is suitably endowed with the necessary sense of social responsibility and sense of mission. The SYLFF network offers a place where Fellows can share these abilities and cooperate with one another.
Specifically, it provides them with the opportunity to discuss issues with like-minded Fellows in different countries and draw on the experience of others involved in the same line of work. This enables them to see problems that hadn't occurred to them before raise questions, and gain fresh insights. These activities transcend borders and specializations, and offer fellows the chance to acquire a global perspective combined with a comprehensive and multifaceted approach.
We should rightly be proud of the existence of the SYLFF network. Of course, there is nothing particularly unusual about the existence of a network of Fellows and alumni. There are countless such networks in the world that are actively used to build contacts, share information and create business opportunities. But the SYLFF network is composed of members who share a sense of responsibility to society and have a conscious sense of mission. Moreover, SYLFF-endowed schools - the managing institutions - are also actively engaged in nurturing and developing this proactive network. I think such a network is highly unusual.
Through this network, all kinds of follow-up programs are being offered once the term of a Fellowship is concluded. Alumni are embarked on a diverse range of collaborative projects that draw on the diverse backgrounds and specializations of all involved. Based on such cooperative efforts and follow-up programs, we want to see the network become a collective force capable of tackling tough issues that can't be solved by individuals or small groups, and also take on bigger issues that face the whole of humankind.
You have in front of you a booklet commemorating the 20th anniversary of SYLFF. For the occasion, we have incorporated a logo featuring 20 hands joined together. As well as marking the past two decades' endeavor, they also symbolize the collective force that SYLFF aims to become by "going forward hand in hand."
Each and every fellow is an outstanding individual in his or her own right. But to bring out their abilities to the fullest extent, we, as managers of the capital fund, must do even more than we have been. The existence of a SYLFF network connecting the world has the potential to enable Fellows to become enormously influential, by allowing them to demonstrate their capabilities as public intellectuals in their different fields. The future of SYLFF lies with us. Let us join hands and help this network grow.
1-5 Thanks and appreciation by Hideki Kato, The Tokyo Foundation
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in another round of applause for Minister Bertel Haarder, who unfortunately has left for a cabinet meeting − and Mr. Yohei Sasakawa. I thank them very much for their inspiring speeches.
While SYLFF is 20 years old and I have not even celebrated my first birthday as the chairman of The Tokyo Foundation. I do, however, share your strong commitment to education as a means of preparing future generations not only with knowledge but also developing their abilities and skills to enable them to collaborate with and lead others. And, by "others", I refer not only to other scholars and professionals but to the wide spectrum of civil society.
While Mr. Sasakawa stressed the importance of social responsibility and mission, I am a firm believer in "fieldwork" − that is, objective analyses of what is actual happening domestically and internationally, in contrast to purely theoretical research. In this respect, SYLFF-endowed institutions and SYLFF fellows present a wealth of expertise and experience. During the coming months as we revamp the foundation's research agenda, we will look for ways to tap the SYLFF network.
Minister Haarder mentioned the importance of and great concern about education − from primary school to university levels. It is also a source of deep concern in Japan. Education is on the radar screen of everyone with various sectors of Japanese society espousing their particular perspective of "what needs to be fixed." I assume that SYLFF Program administrators also engage in on- and off-campus dialogs on identifying issues and seeking viable solutions to various concerns, concerns which are not nation-bound. My hope is that during the next days, you will not only commiserate with each other but share effective policies and good practices. If this meeting can serve as an effective mechanism for the 45-country network of SYLFF institutions to engage in dialog and to jointly search for effective solutions, we will have − together − made another solid step forward.
Last but not least, allow me to express my deep appreciation to the University of Copenhagen, particularly Prof. Ralf Hemmingsen and all staff concerned, for hosting this SYLFF 20th anniversary gathering and the SYLFF Program Administrators' meeting. I also thank each and every one of you − some of you have probably flown over from the other side of the earth, and others might have even bought heavy coats to join this meeting − for making time to join us here in Copenhagen.
Thank you very much.