Messages for Student Summit

Hiroshi Komiyama

President, the University of Tokyo

His message to students of the world

I would like to express my deepest feelings of welcome and respect to the ambitious young scholars from around the world who will be convening here in Japan with the united goal and conviction of "global sustainability".

The last century was a century in which a myriad of global issues such as poverty, racism, environmental issues and resource conflicts have surfaced. "Knowledge" has long been anticipated as the savior to these arduous ordeals, but the exponential explosion of information in the 20th century has served too large of a feast to his insatiable appetite. "Knowledge" has proved to have exceeded obesity, leading to a dilemma between his growth and his size-induced disjointedness. The wide range of intertwined issues that we face today in the 21st century is also intrinsically affected by this blurred apprehension of knowledge.

At the University of Tokyo, we have formed the "Research System for Sustainability Science" with leading universities of Japan such as Kyoto University, Osaka University, Hokkaido University and Ibaraki University to take on the challenge to create a new discipline of sustainability science that best suits the current century, also referred to as the "Environmental Century". We have also adopted sustainability as one of our central themes in the IARU (International Alliance of Research Universities: composed by Yale University, Beijing University, Australia National University, Oxford University, Singapore National University, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, University of California Berkeley, Cambridge University, Copenhagen University and the University of Tokyo) as well as in the BESETOHA Forum (Alliance composed by Beijing University, Seoul National University, Vietnam National University of Hanoi and the University of Tokyo). Our vision and scope of activity far surpasses the university and national level, reaching out far beyond to the multinational, multicultural collection and structuralization of global knowledge around the firm, powerful pillar of "sustainability".

I strongly believe that this kind of opportunity for the future leaders of the 21st century to learn about and converge towards a common goal of sustainability is an invaluable key towards the realization of a sustainable globe and hope that this newborn flow of awareness becomes an omnipotent global tide towards a truly sustainable world.

Hiroshi Komiyama,
President, The University of Tokyo