Humanity faces many formidable challenges which now clearly affect our daily lives. Human activity has stretched the finite resources of our planet to breaking point, and while we have a responsibility to hand over a sustainable world to future generations, our commitment is rightly being questioned. The advance of technology and its expanding applications bring new problems in areas such as bioethics, the solutions to which need new knowledge structures transcending the traditional confines of the arts and sciences. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupting our lives right now has spread through the everyday activities of gathering, talking and coming into contact with each other. This is an unparalleled chance to rethink these actions of ours on the scale of human history.
Everything we took for granted is being questioned or in a state of flux. Taking a long-term view embracing both the past and the future, we must build a new model of the university while sensible to society’s academic needs.
Dialogue is a key action for cultivating a new vision of UTokyo. The university places great importance on dialogue between people of different backgrounds or who espouse different values, between the university and society, or within the international community. This is because dialogue is the practice of facing what you do not know. First, you need to have a dialogue with yourself. It is important to explore the unknown within ourselves to determine the limits of our ignorance. Dialogue with strangers begins by facing each other and building trust based on an understanding rooted in empathy. Only then can we create a relationship that involves others and leads to new collaborative engagement. Trust growing out of dialogue is the common capital we create. Such dialogue forms the foundation for the responsible stewardship of public goods, such as the Earth system, the shared property of humanity that is our global commons.
UTokyo has been entrusted by the public to nurture individuals who will actively address the major challenges humanity faces. With a solid foundation in the knowledge of diverse academic domains, students can galvanize their own curiosity and enhance opportunities to engage in dialogue with their peers, a process that leads to nurturing creativity and a spirit of respecting others.
Diversity and inclusion are fundamental not only in the creation of academic knowledge, but also to human resource development, university management and partnerships with society. We will build a strong network with academic institutions and industries with whom we share common goals, both at home and abroad, and collaborate to embark on promoting initiatives to reconnect academic learning with society. In addition, we will gather outstanding people with diverse backgrounds from around the world as faculty, staff and students, and create a place where they can thrive. By realizing a digital campus that promotes digital innovation throughout education, research and administration, we aim to improve the quality of faculty and staff members’ time and work, and make UTokyo a place of learning where people from around the world will want to come and join.
To steadily advance these interlinked initiatives of creating knowledge, nurturing people and establishing a place of learning, I will work tirelessly together with UTokyo members to drive forward reforms to make the university resilient and inclusive.
The University of Tokyo