INTRODUCTION

Reframing Liberal Arts in the Era of Globalization

Norihisa Yamashita
Professor

Norihisa Yamashita

Professor

The idea of liberal arts originated in the Greek and Roman empires, later taking the form of “seven liberal arts (septem artes liberales),” which became the basis for studies in medieval European universities. It further evolved, in modern times, into subjects such as Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)—a comprehensive discipline that provided a basic foundation for future public leaders, especially in the UK, preparing them for their future roles, and was also used as a common language between such leaders.

However, in the current era, which is also known as the Asian Century, the world's core values are shifting as intercultural interactions prove ever more dynamic. Simply replicating liberal arts programs that are rooted in Western culture will no longer be adequate. A traditional liberal arts education was not designed to foster the practical skills necessary to face the challenges affecting modern society. Now is the time to redefine liberal arts in the context of advanced globalization.

Our new college restructures PPE to align with 21st-century trends under the three pillars of Cosmopolitan Studies, Civilization Studies, and Innovation Studies. Additionally, the partnership with ANU will offer students the opportunity to study region-specific topics including the development of international society in Asia and the challenges of globalization in Asian societies. Combining Japanese and Australian perspectives, GLA aspires to create a new form of liberal arts by studying the theoretical and practical techniques required to change society.

Cultivating Intellectual Tolerance – Intensive Training to Meet New Global Demands

Eugene Choi
Professor

Eugene Choi

Professor

“Social Tolerance” is a widely used term that has a long history, primarily in Western society. It refers to the coexistence and mutual respect that can arise among a diverse group of people from different cultural and religious backgrounds. In these times of globalization, however, we need to go beyond “Social Tolerance.” We should encourage “Intellectual Tolerance” too, so that people can respect others’ core values, intelligence, and academic fields, and come together to create new shared values from a more global perspective.

“Intellectual Tolerance” refers to the practice of creatively combining two completely distinct academic fields to uncover new knowledge. For example, this may involve tracing the essence of Japanese industrial design back to artists’ masterpieces of the late Edo period or comparing artificial intelligence algorithms to classical Chinese poetry. In other words, it calls for open minds and broad perspectives toward new areas of knowledge. At the new College of Global Liberal Arts, our aim is to offer a sophisticated program of “Intellectual Tolerance” studies. We will be providing Cosmopolitan Studies to learn about global diversity, Civilization Studies to study social contexts from around the world, and Innovation Studies to help build the world’s future.

We wish that every student would aim to be a new global individual of intellect who can naturally build upon the knowledge they have gained and practiced, as if it were encoded in their DNA to do so. The faculty will make every effort to support the students to help them achieve these goals.

A Deep Dive into Learning: A Year on the Beautiful ANU Campus

Miwa Hirono
Associate Professor

Miwa Hirono

Associate Professor

I have both studied and taught at ANU, where I found that that thorough, in-depth learning is one of ANU’s defining features.

Every week the students attend lectures and then deepen their understanding through tutorials, in which they hold group discussions or give presentations in a class of 10–20 students. In both types of classes, students are encouraged to ask questions and speak up in an open, understanding atmosphere. Students have a close relationship with their professors. They are able to discuss their studies in various ways, by visiting their professors during office hours or arranging meetings with them via email, creating a relaxed atmosphere for communication. From an educator’s point of view, such a support system allows the professor to grasp how much the student has learned, while making it easier to follow up with each student according to their current level of knowledge. As a result, professors can take good care of all students and offer appropriate guidance to them.

ANU is located in Canberra, the capital of Australia—a city that combines the richness of the country’s natural and urban environments. The National Library of Australia, which is located in the city, is known to have the largest collection of books written in Asian languages in the Southern Hemisphere. On the vast, beautiful ANU campus, there are five libraries, each devoted to different disciplines. Students can concentrate on their studies in a calm and relaxed environment.

Though my expertise is in Chinese studies, having attended two universities in Japan and Australia, I have acquired new insights into the Asian region as a whole. The year spent at ANU offers a great opportunity to obtain new knowledge that goes beyond Japanese perspectives, and understand perspectives of Western and Asia-Pacific countries.

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