On Monday, November 20, Dr. Tshilidzi Marwala, the Rector of United Nations University (and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations), and Chief of Staff Michael Baldock visited Kinugasa Campus. They met with President Yoshio Nakatani, Dean of the College of International Relations Tomoaki Nishimura, and Visiting Professor Tadamichi Yamamoto.
United Nations University, one of the United Nations’ agencies, comprises 13 institutes and programs spanning 12 countries. In close collaboration with other agencies and commissions of the United Nations, United Nations University conducts education and research aimed at solving various issues facing the international community, focusing on three themes: (1) peace and governance, (2) global socio-economic development and inclusion, and (3) environment, climate, and energy. Rector Marwala, an artificial intelligence (AI) researcher, previously served as Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg in South Africa before being appointed as the seventh president of United Nations University in March 2023.
Visiting Professor Yamamoto, who formerly served as Special Representative of the Secretary General and the Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and Special Representative of the Government of Japan for Afghanistan and Pakistan, served as a liaison between the two universities, which both seek to build peace and realize a sustainable society.
During the discussion, Rector Marwala emphasized the need for partners who will work together with the United Nations University toward peacebuilding and other initiatives. Next, President Nakatani talked about how Ritsumeikan strives to build peace in the world based on its educational philosophy of “Peace and Democracy” as well as its efforts as a comprehensive university to solve various issues facing the world. The meeting proved to be a valuable opportunity to exchange opinions on the potential for academic cooperation and exchange between the two universities going forward. Both Rector Marwala and President Nakatani are AI researchers, so they also had a lively discussion about the use of AI.
After the meeting, Rector Marwala gave a special lecture entitled “AI and International Relations" to an audience of about 120 undergraduate and graduate students and faculty and staff members. After the lecture, the group toured the Kyoto Museum for World Peace, which reopened after renovations this September.