KU-STAR Program students pay a courtesy call on Kyoto Mayor Koji Matsui

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On 18 June 2024, the 18 students participating in the inaugural KU-STAR (Kyoto University Short-Term Academic Research) Program – all of them from Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) – paid a courtesy call on the mayor of Kyoto City, Koji Matsui. The visit was organized in view of the municipality's ongoing focus on strengthening cultural and economic ties with India and was led by Dr Akira Murakami, dean of the Graduate School of Advanced Integrated Studies in Human Survivability (GSAIS).

Eight students delivered speeches sharing their impressions of Kyoto and their career plans. Arjav from IIT Madras described his impressions of the city as follows: "Kyoto epitomizes the saying, 'Learn from the past to create the new'. With its ancient temples, charming old houses, and beautiful gardens, it amazes everyone who visits. At the same time, Kyoto has modern technology and services that make life easy for everyone. Kyoto is where the past and future coexist in perfect balance." Chaitanya from IIT Bombay discussed his future plans in these words: "Before coming to Japan, I was uncertain whether to pursue a master’s degree or to join the workforce after completing my bachelor's. However, my experiences over the past month, immersed in the world-class research environment here, have solidified my decision to pursue a master’s degree." Having received Japanese lessons as part of the program, many of the presenters added greetings and acknowledgements in Japanese. One participant, Adarsh from IIT Bombay, even delivered his entire speech in Japanese, discussing his career aspirations.

Mayor Matsui described his vision for urban development – "transforming Kyoto into a place where outstanding talents from all fields and professions come together" – and delivered his words of encouragement for the students. He expressed hope that the KU-STAR Program will serve as a starting point for the participants' further studies and careers in Kyoto, where they are encouraged to return afterward to pursue advanced degrees and to absorb the city's unique and rich business culture. He concluded by stating that he ultimately hopes to see the students contributing to the creation of new value and playing an active role in the cultural exchanges between India and Japan.

One participant sharing her impressions of Kyoto City
Another participant presenting on his future career
With Kyoto Mayor Matsui (front row, second from left)
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