On Monday, November 20, Dr. Tshilidzi Marwala, the Rector of United Nations University visited Kinugasa Campus where he gave a special lecture entitled “AI and International Relations" to an audience of about 120 undergraduate and graduate students and faculty and staff members.
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 Tadamichi 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, invited Rector Marwala as a guest speaker in his class. In addition to the students in his class, many graduate students, undergraduate students from other colleges, faculty members, and staff members attended the special lecture.
In his special lecture, Rector Marwala spoke about the expectations for AI to be actively used to solve social issues and contribute to international relations while also saying we must never forget to consider ethics and human rights. He explained that for public safety and the ethical use of AI, it is important to continually seek the right balance between innovation and regulation as well as to ensure fairness, transparency, and accountability in AI systems.
At the end of the lecture, many students asked him questions during the question-and-answer session, and Rector Marwala answered each one carefully.
After the lecture, Rector Marwala was given a tour of the Kyoto Museum for World Peace, which reopened after renovations this September. To embody its educational philosophy of “Peace and Democracy” and cultivate peacemakers as part of its social responsibility, Ritsumeikan University opened the Kyoto Museum for World Peace as the world's first comprehensive peace museum established by a university. Akihiko Kimijima, the Director of the Kyoto Museum for World Peace, explained the course of events leading up to Ritsumeikan opening the museum and showed Rector Marwala the exhibits. Rector Marwala listened intently to Director Kimijima’s explanations as he took in the exhibits and panels.