International Strategy Office Kyoto University (iSO-KU)

iSO-KU: working for the internationalization of Kyoto University


Located at the University Head Office (building #14 on this map), iSO-KU is a unique organization that brings together leadership and innovation from both academic and administrative staff in developing strategies and implementing measures for a smooth internationalization of Kyoto University.

iSO-KU consists of:

  • The Director, who is also the University's Vice President for International Strategy
  • Two Vice-Directors: one for global engagement and the other for administrative matters
  • The Directors of the University's Overseas Centers — the ASEAN Center, the European Center, and the North American Center —
  • Three faculty members serving full-time, each focusing on specific regions and functions

iSO-KU also functions as a university-wide network, an umbrella organization that brings together main offices in the University's central administration involved in international matters.

As a network, it brings together main offices in charge of international affairs as well as assistants to the University's Provost and Executive Vice-Presidents (EVPs) for: Gender Equality, International Affairs, and Public Relations; Student Affairs and Library Services; Education, Information Infrastructure, and Evaluation; and Strategy Coordination, Research, Planning, and Hospital Administration.

Since 2016, iSO-KU has been performing some of the functions of the former Organization for the Promotion of International Relations, focusing mainly on the promotion of a comprehensive internationalization of Kyoto University.

Overall, iSO-KU works on the design and implementation of policy and strategies to promote smooth and effective internationalization of the University. In this perspective, iSO-KU makes ceaseless efforts with a particular focus on the following core missions:

CONNECT from within and with the world: Plan, coordinate, and support international academic activities

This mission relates to planning, coordinating, and supporting the University's international activities in education and research. In addition to providing support to activities by departments both at home and abroad, iSO-KU boosts, coordinates, and facilitates collaborations in education and research.

At the same time, iSO-KU reaches partners through the University's Overseas Centers in ASEAN, Europe, and North America, taking characteristics of the respective regions into consideration. Furthermore, iSO-KU contributes to the management of schemes such as the On-site Laboratory initiative and the recruitment of excellent international students as specified in the University's Designated National University concept.

BOOST international presence: Encourage effective international branding; strengthen international networking capabilities and visibility of the University.

While education and research of the University have been highly evaluated across the world, its outstanding achievements remained somewhat unexposed internationally. iSO-KU strives to expand and strengthen the University's current and potential worldwide networks with a human touch by efficient use of the web and other resources for extensive information dissemination, as well as tightening partnerships with the world's leading universities.

PROMOTE internalization of the University's campuses and beyond: Support implementation of the Basic Concept, engage with researchers & students, provide effective international crisis management, boost information sharing, and learning from good practices.

The third mission is to promote internationalization on campus. Promoting internationalization of the University's education and research requires robust support, and there is the need for more sophistication and efficiency in the University's management. In order to implement the initiatives conceived under the Basic Concept, it is essential to empower and enrich the support system itself.

STRENGTHEN governance for internationalization: Plan, coordinate, and promote cooperation among the University's departments and headquarters to promote concerted internationalization.

iSO-KU aims to build a university-wide foundation for collaborative education and research support that allows the central administration and departments to develop integrated activities based on multilateral cooperation. iSO-KU takes the lead in enhancing the internationalization of the University from a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and trans-sectoral perspective, serving as a "linkage" to strengthen collaboration between the University's academic and administrative staff members.