2020 Academic Year Graduation & Diploma Presentation Ceremony
September 28, 2020
The 2020 academic year graduation and diploma presentation ceremony was held on Monday, September 28, 2020. A total of 57 students graduated, including 31 undergraduate students (16 from the School of Language and Culture Studies and 15 from the School of International and Area Studies), 15 students in the Master’s Program and 11 students in the Doctoral Program (April to September 2019) of the Graduate School of Global Studies.
At the ceremony, held taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, President HAYASHI Kayoko presented diplomas to the students and made a graduation speech. This was followed by congratulatory speeches by MAJIMA Ichiro, Manager of the School of International and Area Studies, and AOYAMA Toru, Dean of the Institute of Global Studies.
President Graduation Speech
Congratulations to all of you. I am sure many of you are here today after a very long time of not being able to come to campus due to the pandemic throughout the spring quarter. It is strange to think that even though we are finally able to be here together, we must say goodbye.
Nevertheless, all of us, the faculty and staff are very happy to see your bright smiles on this fine day. Although there are many limitations, it is very special to be able to see you face to face on this momentous day of graduation. I would also like to thank the staff who have worked hard to prepare this event for us.
First of all, I would like to congratulate our 31 undergraduate graduates. By choosing to graduate in September, you are experiencing this unprecedented pandemic era as university students. I am sure that one day, years from now, you will look back on this turning point in history and reminisce about how you all took online classes.
We are all experiencing an untimely and significant turning point in history. The COVID-19 pandemic is showing us how what we take for granted can be lost in the blink of an eye. You may have felt as though the world was transforming in front of your eyes, as cities and lifestyles suddenly changed. And just when it seemed that society as a whole was losing its global borders, countries began closing their borders to protect only their own citizens. It is truly ironic that online, space and distance is completely eliminated, while in real life the disconnection is only increasing.
It is not yet clear how the world will change after this virus. However, I do have a feeling that with the fading of groups and organizations that shelter individuals, the arrival of a new era has hastened, where individuals will become more present in society. For example, the experience of studying and working from home may have given you the opportunity to question what it means to belong to a group or an organization. To give a simple example, with the shift to online learning, it is now possible to study at TUFS in Tokyo while taking classes at a foreign university. In the future, we may no longer need to know what university a student belongs to. I believe that we will see more profound changes in the future. There will be a time when belonging to an organization, such as a company, will be just a small part of your life. The unthinkable is headed our way.
In these times, as you are about to take your first steps into a new world, you may have both hopes and concerns. However, I urge you to have confidence in yourselves. At this university, you have learned that no matter how globalization progresses, diversity is crucial to this world and that it is supported by the existence of each individual. Each of us has our own individuality, and this diversity is what enriches society. This is the fundamental idea of education at this university, and I believe that you have experienced this in your years of study here.
While it is understandable to feel anxious in this era of change and uncertainty, I hope that you will believe in yourselves and follow your own path.
Next, I would like to congratulate the 26 students who have completed their postgraduate studies. In particular, as the titles of the theses you have just heard indicate, you have all contributed to various fields in the humanities, including linguistics, anthropology, sociology, political science, and international relations, as a result of your hard work and dedication. As I mentioned earlier, we live in an age of uncertainty, in which the nature of the individual and human beings are being questioned. What is the meaning of humanity and what does it mean to live? In the midst of the pandemic, these questions are becoming more and more real and serious. My hope is that you will continue your research to answer these questions and make further progress in the world of academia that is about to take a new step forward.
Now, I'd like to congratulate all of you who have finished successfully our Master and Doctoral courses of the Peace and Conflict Studies.
I know how difficult it is to take a degree just within a few years far away from your home country. Especially since February this year, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, you have been experiencing more difficulties in completing the thesis, as well as in your ordinary life. I am very glad to see you all looking healthy, happy and satisfied. Yet, I also know that you had to overcome a lot of obstacles. So your effort should be worth a very high praise.
I suppose, the subject of your thesis is tightly intertwined with questions born out of your own experiences. Hopefully, the study you have made at our university, TUFS, will give you a steady basis for your further development.
Lastly, I also hope that the tie between you and TUFS will continue no matter where you will be. We will not forget you and I hope you will not forget us!
Thank you very much and Congratulations!
President, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies