20th Anniversary of the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund program at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

Boston, United States

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.