The first undergraduate program in Japan with a curriculum designed entirely around a dual degree program, Ritsumeikan University’s new College of Global Liberal Arts, opened in April 2019.
Offering a Dual Degree Program together with The Australian National University’s Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, the College recently completed its first full year cohort of students following the September 2019 Academic Year Matriculation Ceremony.
To mark the occasion, on Tuesday October 8, a special opening ceremony took place on Osaka Ibaraki Campus.
Honored guests from The Australian National University included: Brian Schmidt, Vice-Chancellor; Toni Erskine, Director of the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs; and Bruce Miller, former Ambassador of Australia to Japan and Distinguished Policy Fellow of the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. Meanwhile, Mr. Satonobu Matsunaga, from the Higher Education Bureau, Ministry of Education, Sports, Science and Technology, represented Mr. Yoshinori Hakui, Director-General.
The guests were welcomed by Tomomi Morishima, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, the Ritsumeikan Trust (under the umbrella of which Ritsumeikan University operates); Yoshio Nakatani, President of Ritsumeikan University; Tsutomu Kanayama, Dean of the College of Global Liberal Arts, Ritsumeikan University; and Eugene Choi, Associate Dean of the College of Global Liberal Arts, Ritsumeikan University.
President Nakatani opened proceedings with a speech in which he spoke of the College of Global Liberal Arts in terms of taking on the challenge of an increasingly globalized world:
One approach I believe we need to pursue is shared platforms with foreign educational institutions. In other words, we need to think in terms of frameworks transcending individual nations and regions in order for global-level education and research to develop. Such a way of thinking has not heretofore existed in Japan.
Our world is facing a number of global-level issues. I am convinced that we should respond by positively embracing “epochal change,” identifying new values within diversity, seeking answers in society, and training talent that can contribute to the solution of these problems. The inauguration of the College of Global Liberal Arts is contributing to realization of these hopes.
Before concluding with:
I firmly believe that the College of Global Liberal Arts will continue to develop in terms of education and research, and that collaboration and lasting friendship between our two universities will continue to contribute to the development of and friendship between Japan and Australia.
Following on from President Nakatani, Brian Schmidt, Vice-Chancellor of The Australian National University, took to the stage eloquently describing the significance of the establishment of the College of Global Liberal Arts as:
…An important step in our relationship with Japan. In 2014, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited The Australian National University in Canberra and our two universities signed a memorandum of understanding. Five years later and after much hard work, it is a pleasure to see such a successful commencement of the Dual Degree Program…an innovative program, the first of its kind between an Australian and a Japanese university. And it provides an important pathway to strengthening ties between our two countries.
The Dual Degree Program will help equip our students…our next generation, with the kinds of skills, capacities, knowledge and relationships needed to play a productive, successful and positive role, not just in society here or back in Australia, but around the world.