Congratulations on Graduating!

March 25, 2020

Congratulatory Message from TUFS HAYASHI Kayoko

I extend my most sincere congratulations to each and every one of you as you celebrate your graduation and course completion.

The unexpected spread of the novel coronavirus has prevented us from holding our usual graduation and course completion ceremonies. We cannot express how disappointed we are. This should have been a day of celebration shared among family, friends, teachers and fellow students. Especially this year, it could have been celebrated under the glorious cherry blossoms that have emerged so early.

In any case, I wish you all the best as you embark on a new stage of life. I hope that the joy with which you welcome this day will continue to remain within you for a long time to come.

I would also like to congratulate the families who supported our students through their endeavors. I am sorry that we could not share with you the joy of participating in the graduation and course completion ceremonies. Please know that I stand together with you as we watch our students prepare to join society.

I opened my comments with a reference to the “unexpected.” The day will soon come, I feel, when we will look back and wonder if we could not have anticipated this state of affairs. So many, many people are being affected and so many have lost their lives. We will surely rue this day as we think of what could have been done, should have been done. Terms like “unexpected” and “unforeseen” also bring to mind the considerable damage caused by last year’s typhoons, and, of course, the terrible devastation of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear accident that followed nine years ago.

Dealing with the “unexpected” and the “unforeseen” is the responsibility of the government and its organizations, but it is equally imperative that each of us have the knowledge and judgement to act responsibility in the face of such circumstances.

We cannot yet see what the scenario will be that will bring an end to the spread of the novel coronavirus. It is obvious that the global movement of people and information has contributed to the widespread dissemination of the virus, and yet the pandemic is being tackled state by state, country by country as each nation scrambles to protect its own citizens. But the effect of blurring global boundaries remains and it is not so clear anymore what defines the term “citizen.”

In the midst of this confusion, the capabilities of the individual person—such as the ability to examine all the facets of a problem and make informed decisions—are defined by the diversity and depth of their knowledge, the quality of their imagination and decisiveness. At TUFS, you have learned how diverse and complex the world is and also how the people who live in this complex world share the same humanity. We believe that the considerable knowledge you have acquired here will provide you with the strength and acuity to survive and prosper in a new era.

As each of you make your way in society, I urge you to always be confident and believe in yourself. Your alma mater will always be behind you, cheering you on.

March 25, 2020

HAYASHI Kayoko, President
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies