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Speech for the welcome party by President SHIH of the National University of Singapore - Jan 28, 2005 -

Kazuo OIKE

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Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I would like to express my deepest thanks to the president of the National University of Singapore, Dr. SHIH for his kind cooperation and partnership. Also thank you very much for your kind invitation this evening.

I remember well the plenary address by Dr. SHIH Choon Fong, as the Chairman, of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) at the Association of American Universities (AAU) Meeting, last year.

His title of the speech was "Notes from a Very Small Island" in which he said, "I am also from a tiny though not insignificant island-country." I was very much impressed by his words, "we have no choice but to think global, breathe global and to be global."

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Both Kyoto University and the National University of Singapore share about 100 years of history as old state universities, which have played leading roles in their countries by producing valuable research and by nurturing their excellent human resources. During the past century, theses universities have developed rapidly as comprehensive universities.

Besides being president of Kyoto University, but I am also a seismologist, concerned with the occurrence of big earthquakes and their relation with active fault movements. Many active fault lines lie beneath the Kyoto basin. It is a typical tectonic basin in a temperate one prone to serious natural disasters such as earthquakes, and floods. Kyoto University is located in this basin where the old capital was established more than 1200 years ago.

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One of the differences between our two universities is the land on which they are situated. The National University of Singapore is on stable land. Singapore is a small island but it is located far from the plate boundary, which caused the recent tsunami. There are no active faults in Singapore, which can cause big earthquakes nor are there any active volcanoes. I would like to suggest that in his future remarks, professor SHIH adds that although Singapore may be small, it is on solid grounds.

In closing, I wish to say that our mutual challenge is to stay on the leading edge of life science. I hope this symposium triggers new progress in the field by creating valuable opportunities for the participants from both Kyoto University and the National University of Singapore to exchange information and to create new joint research activities of mutual interest.

Thank you very much.

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