Ceremony for the Establishment of the Sasakawa Young Leaders’ Fellowship Fund program at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
It gives me great pleasure to be here in the presence of Dr. Monte Cassim, President of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University and Vice-Chancellor of Ritsumeikan Trust, the faculty of Asia Pacific University, and of course all the graduate students.
We launched SYLFF in 1987 at the end of the Cold War.
It was a time of great change as the world began to move away from the East-West Cold War structure.
We started the scholarship fund to nurture leaders who could boldly take on the global challenges society was going to face.
For more than 20 years of SYLFF has reflected the changing needs of global society.
At its inception it endowed some of Europe’s most established universities.
Later, matching the progress of globalization, it expanded to other regions.
Then, from the second half of the 1990s, with Asia’s rapid economic growth, SYLFF endowments were established at many universities in the region.
The purpose has been to develop human resources in support of nation building.
Asia’s universities are nurturing the political and economic leaders who will assume responsibility for their respective countries.
They are educating the researchers who will support industry.
I am delighted by these developments.
I am amazed and moved by what I have seen.
To lead our increasingly complex society, we need politicians and bureaucrats who can look beyond national interests; we need specialists who can see beyond their field of expertise.
Amid our world’s great changes, the problems we must tackle are increasingly complex.
The population explosion.
It is beyond the power of any one individual, organization or even country to find solutions.
What we need are people with a broad perspective.
We need people who can transcend borders and specialties as they tackle complex global issues.
People who can understand, respect and work with others from different cultures, different value systems and different traditions.
People with a flexible outlook.
The world needs people with a strong sense of duty, who work toward a universal ideal of humankind.
In the 21st century, the world needs such human resources more than ever.
We have searched the world over to come up with the 69 SYLFF-endowed universities that are nurturing these resources.
I spent a long time thinking about where to endow the next SYLFF school.
I studied a map of the world and a list of universities, and I thought about it on my travels. As I thought, it became clear to me that Asia Pacific University, right here in Oita, Japan, could help the SYLFF community realize its many goals.
APU, though based in Japan, is a truly international institution that accepts foreign exchange students from many countries.
It occupies a prominent position, not just in Japan, but in Asia and the rest of the world.
Dr. Monte Cassim has led APU to this point through his wisdom and clear vision for the future. I am in full agreement with his mission.
With the addition of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, SYLFF now links 69 leading universities from 44 countries.
To date the program has turned out over 13,000 outstanding fellows whose activities transcend borders and disciplines.
The SYLFF network provides opportunities for SYLFF fellows to cooperate with their counterparts in many other countries.
These opportunities continue after their scholarships end. It gives them the chance to acquire a global perspective and primes them to become talented leaders ready to make a significant contribution to society.
Because of its makeup, I believe the SYLFF network can form a collective force capable of tackling tough issues that cannot be solved by individuals or small groups.
I will go further and suggest it can take on more complex issues that face humankind as a whole.
I believe that here in Japan, at APU, we can see the outline of Asia’s future, and the world’s future.
Please apply yourselves and learn from your peers, who come from all over the world.
Please also gain a deep understanding of Japan’s history and its positive aspects.
I hope you become leaders who will make history in both Asia and the world.
I am convinced that APU, by making use of the SYLFF network, will do extraordinary things.
I look forward to the further development of the university under the leadership of Dr. Cassim and wish APU every success as a member of the SYLFF network.