Nov 12, 2010

Sylff Administrators Meeting Convened at APU

From November 2 through 5, 2010, the Sylff Administrators Meeting was convened at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) in Beppu, on the southern island of Japan. APU, the newest member of the Sylff community, hosted this gathering, which was attended by some 100 administrators and faculty members representing 62 (out of 69) Sylff-endowed institutions in 40 countries, as well as 11 Sylff fellows from 8 countries. The Tokyo Foundation worked closely with APU on the contents of the meeting as well as the logistic and other administrative matters.

The meeting started with a welcome speech by Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, the donor of the Sylff endowments; opening remarks by Mr. Hideki Kato, President of the Tokyo Foundation; followed by a welcoming address by Mr. Shun Korenaga, President of APU.

Over the three days, the participants were actively engaged in presentations and discussions—both plenary and in small groups—regarding such topics as “Identifying and Nurturing Outstanding Future Leaders through Effective Program Administration.” The participants were reminded of the basic roles and responsibilities for managing the Sylff program at respective institutions, and renewed their commitments to identifying and nurturing future leaders.

One session featured some of the invited Sylff fellows who are the beneficiaries of Sylff Plus programs. They each shared with participants their experiences and accomplishments achieved through the Sylff Plus support provided by the Tokyo Foundation. Other Sylff fellows served on the panel of a thematic session entitled “Global vs. Local Values: Beyond Dichotomy.” Also, a special lecture was delivered by Dr. Monte Cassim, ex-President of APU, under the title “Sound, Science, New Technology and Emerging Nations.”

APU is one of the most internationalized universities in Japan, with a special emphasis on Asia-Pacific studies. Half of the 6,000 plus students, as well as faculty members, come from abroad (over 90 countries), and both English and Japanese are the official languages on campus. This was reflected in the range of performances by APU students during the welcome reception, namely, Korean drum performance, Chinese traditional string performance, and Noh, a Japanese traditional theater performance, which were presented by students of diverse nationalities.

Among the invited Sylff fellows were four musician fellows from the Juilliard School in New York, who gave a beautiful music performance on the second evening of the Meeting. This concert was a joint event featuring the Juilliard fellows and Ms. Toshie Suzuki, an APU graduate and professional shamisen player, and her troupe. The full-house audience, including the Meeting participants, APU students, faculty, and administrators, as well as the citizens of Beppu where APU is located, was very moved by the performance from East and West.

The final morning was dedicated to a session for intellectual entertainment. This experimental endeavor was to provide an opportunity for the participants to “speak their minds and hearts” in a purely private capacity on issues that are close to their hearts, setting aside their positions and responsibilities at work. Thirteen pre-selected participants made presentations, and six others, who were chosen on the spot, commented on the presentations. They were joined by two invited speakers: Dr. Mariko Hasegawa, Professor, The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, and Dr. Yoshikazu Takaya, Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University.

On November 5, the day following the end of the sessions, the participants divided into two groups for optional field trips: about half of them toured around Beppu and its vicinity and enjoyed the cultural heritage of the region, while the other half went to Tokyo for a half-day dialogue at the Tokyo Foundation with Japanese Diet members on specific policy issues, followed by a half-day sightseeing tour of Tokyo.

The Tokyo Foundation extends its sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Sylff colleagues and Sylff fellows who took the time to participate in the meeting, to APU colleagues for their dedicated work and hospitality, and the Nippon Foundation for its generous support.