Reception for the Japan-UK Higher Education Programme of Collaboration to Kyoto University today hosted by the President (2006年2月1日)

Kazuo Oike

 Good evening ladies and gentlemen.

 It gives me great pleasure to welcome all the participants of the Japan-UK Higher Education Programme of Collaboration to Kyoto University today. I extend a sincere welcome to all of you.

 Since the founding of the university in 1897, Kyoto University has been deeply committed to the principles of liberal education and academic freedom. Kyoto University welcomes students aspiring to learn from all around the world, and seeks to nurture leaders who will contribute to international society.

 At present, our university is taking steps to increase our international exchange activities on the basis of "Kyoto University's International Strategy." That guiding policy states that our international exchange activities should contribute to the fruition of our fundamental principle, which is that Kyoto University "shall be an internationally-minded university that will contribute to the harmonious coexistence of the global community," and that they should be grounded in a global perspective and respect for regional cultures, and that they should build on the city of Kyoto's rich cultural heritage.

 Speaking of Kyoto's culture, from tomorrow, at the Yoshida Shrine adjacent to our campus, the "Setsubun" festival will be held. "Setsubun" literally means "the division of seasons," and during this festival, purification rites are performed for luck in the coming spring. Priests will throw beans at the gathered worshippers, saying "fuku wa uchi, oni wa soto," which means, "fortune in and demons out! " Since its practice during the Muromachi period, it has been a major event for Kyoto, a city of faith and tradition, and big crowds of worshippers fill the grounds of Yoshida Shrine every year. Due to the festival, which starts from tomorrow and lasts for three days, no car traffic will be permitted on the road in front of our university's main gate, and it will become very crowded with shrine visitors. However, I should think it will be an excellent opportunity for all of you to experience first-hand Kyoto culture and tradition.

 Kyoto University's International Strategy has designated two target areas for development, one being "human resource development and acquisition" and the other being "research hub formation." "Human resource development and acquisition" is a strategy which aims to develop or attract internationally-minded human resources irrespective of country of origin, and "research hub formation" refers to the strategy of disseminating the outstanding research done at Kyoto University and the building of diverse networks with researchers abroad. This strategy also places great emphasis on nurturing the human resources within the university. The forum to be held tomorrow should be highly productive in this regard.

 In closing, I would like to offer my best wishes for the success of the forum and workshops beginning tomorrow.

 Thank you.