It is my great honor and privilege to
welcome you to Fukuoka for the “University Summit in
In an era of globalization and proliferating information
technology, contemporary societies have achieved remarkable
progress across various fields of human endeavor. As
a result of these transformations, we are now able
to enjoy many material benefits unimagined by previous
generations. However, it is also the case that we are
confronted with a number of pressing challenges that
require urgent attention. For example, global warming
and pollution, which have caused widespread environmental
destruction and climate change.
In this situation, society’s expectations of universities
have changed and there is an increased demand that
universities take greater responsibility in promoting
intellectual activities that will produce a rewarding
future for the whole of humanity. As part of these
efforts, dialogue and creative thinking on a global
scale are correctly regarded as important in ensuring
effective solutions to the difficulties that currently
confront the world.
Kyushu University convened the
first “University Summit in Kyushu” in May 2000. In this conference, senior
university representatives from eight countries met
together and engaged in a lively discussion on issues
connected to the research and education mission of
a university in the 21st Century. Participants came
to recognize that universities around the world were,
in their own distinct way, striving to enrich their
research and educational activities in order to become
a center of intellectual excellence that would make
a valuable contribution to society and the world. This
theme of diverse paths to a common goal was a very
meaningful achievement of the first summit meeting.
In addition, for Kyushu University, this earlier summit
marked an initial step in our long-term strategy of
becoming a global institution that is open to the world.
Contemporary social problems are not limited to locales
or nation states, but are common issues worldwide that
influence the lives of all humanity in various aspects.
I strongly believe that meaningful dialogue between
universities on these common issues will be able to
provide international society with the means to find
a new direction for living together in a peaceful and
sustainable manner. All universities should cherish
this seed in order to develop the flower of a prosperous
future. I do sincerely hope that this “University Summit
in Kyushu 2007” can further stimulate participating
universities to make further contributions to society
by finding solutions to some of the problems existing
in the world today.
In closing, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude
to all the people who kindly offered cooperation with
this conference, particularly the participants from
overseas who graciously accepted the invitation to
participate in this event.
Thank you very much.