Congratulations on your graduation! (Graduation Ceremony in March, 2023)
March 24, 2023
On Tuesday 24th March 2023, the 2022 graduation and diploma presentation ceremony was held in AGORA Global Prometheus Hall.
305 students from the School of Language and Culture Studies, 301 students from the School of International and Area Studies, 49 students from the School of Japan Studies, 107 master’s students and 15 doctoral students graduated and received their degrees.
TUFS President Ceremony Address
Congratulations on your graduation!
With the cherry trees blooming so early this year, this commencement ceremony takes place amidst at a shower of cherry blossom. It is such a pleasure to be able to look out over all your animated faces here in Prometheus Hall. This year, we’ve also been able to welcome parents back to the university and I look forward to celebrating our students’ graduation together with you here on campus.
Half of this year’s graduates are AY2019 enrolments, the other half students who enrolled in AY2018 or prior. Many of you had just entered your second or third year of study in the spring of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began, three years ago now.
We can laugh about it now, but when Zoom-based classes started, there were a lot of challenges! Sometimes the lecturer wouldn’t come online, or would be online but not visible, or you would see something which you weren’t meant to see. The slapstick of those days seems quite nostalgic now, but back then, the university’s attention was completely focused on how to connect with each of our students in their absence from the campus.
Our second and third-year students were thankfully very communicative. Almost all of you filled in our questionnaire, which taught us a great deal. The physical campus might have been empty, but your voices reached us. So I can’t help but view the second- and third-year students of the time as comrades in arms, all of us battling side by side. Thanks to you, the university too has managed to grow a little.
The COVID-19 pandemic did not end as quickly as we initially hoped, and we were forced to cancel study abroad in AY2020. While it resumed in AY2021, some regions posed difficulties and many of you were disappointed. Of those students graduating today after four or five years of study, only 63 completed their long-term study abroad—a figure that suggests that your years suffered the most in terms of opportunities for overseas study. While 63 might seem quite a lot, before the pandemic, the number was up around four or five hundred. While it could not be helped, as a university, we feel your disappointment keenly, and it is our dearest hope that in your adult lives, you will have many opportunities to engage directly with the wider world.
In addition to impacting heavily on your student lives, the COVID-19 pandemic left major scars on society as a whole. The way that social divisions deepened too is a great concern. The social tendency to reject someone entirely over a slight difference in views, to be intolerant of failure, and to literally force one’s opinions on others seems to have become that much stronger both close at home and at the global level.
You who have studied at this university, however, represent the polar opposite. You’ve experienced first-hand and come to regard as normal that there are various elements in society, that the world is constituted by that diversity, that all elements of society have the same value, and that we can reach out to each other through dialogue. But you are now going out into a society where those things will not necessarily be normal. Wherever you end up, I hope you will embody in society the quality you cultivated here at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies of being able to draw closer by learning from each other beyond nationality and gender, recognizing that diverse languages have the same value.
I often hear from graduates about feeling a sense of commonality with someone only to discover that the person is a fellow TUFS graduate. Our university celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. For 150 years, TUFS graduates sharing the same sensibility have been operating out in society. As of today, you will be joining them, and as such, my heartfelt prayer is that you too will work as a force for social change.
The university will always be watching over you all as you make your way forward in life, and we who remain behind will strive to ensure that the university continues to be a place that you can speak of with pride. Please treasure your university friends and recall from time to time that that your alma mater is here cheering for you.
Once again, congratulations on your graduation! May you always walk a straight and true path in good health. Our best wishes go with you.
March 24, 2022
President, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies