Message from the Dean

Encouraging “World citizens”

Professor Takahiro HIRABAYASHI

Dean, School of International Studies

It would probably be impossible to discuss our lives today without using the word “Globalization.” We are connected beyond our local regions and national borders at all levels, from our day to day lives to the global situation. The word “global” comes from the fact that the Earth is a spherical “globe.” The surface area of a globe is limited. The rapid expansion of human activity in recent times has meant that the era when we could behave as if we were all isolated has come to an end. We are now living in an era when we unavoidably influence each other. When we reflect on this, we can also think that this has given us the opportunity to connect with others beyond our national borders and regions, so that we can cooperate on a global scale to create a “better” world.

The School of International Studies was established with the hope that it would directly realize the spirit of the Kwansei Gakuin founder W.R. Lambuth. Dr. Lambuth was a missionary who visited many countries and devoted his life to his neighbors and to society. That work has been praised as the acts of a “World Citizen.” Rather than just referring to the geographical scale, the word “World” here implies “all the areas where people live their lives.” Also, “Citizen” means a person who takes responsibility for the area he or she resides in. The true meaning of “World citizen” is a person who participates and takes responsibility in work to make the lives of everybody better, regardless of their country or region. The goal of the School of International Studies is the development of World Citizens such as these.

The aim of the study at the School of International Studies is the diversified and integrated acquisition of the qualities and abilities necessary for someone to become a World Citizen and work on the global stage for the sake of neighbors and society. This includes “the ability to solve problems,” “the ability for multicultural coexistence,” “ethical standards” and “linguistic communication ability.” To achieve this, priority is placed on language education and exercise-based classes in small groups. In the foundation seminars in the first year, the students are trained to capture problems logically and express them appropriately. Also, the learning of foreign languages is essential if we are to go beyond cultures and achieve mutual understanding and cooperation and opportunities for this are provided throughout the four years. In the research seminars in senior years, these abilities are integrated into work on a theme the students select themselves. During that time, the students are required to deepen their interests, such as through various types of exchange study overseas, and to polish their qualities and abilities.

In the School of International Studies, the students can study a wide range of social science and humanities topics according on their own interests, with studies focused on the three areas of “Cultures and languages,” “Societies and politics” and “Economics and management.” To specialize and delve deeper into an academic discipline that already exists can be very interesting, but at the same time, it can also be very interesting to integrate topics from across a wide range of academic disciplines for themes that have attracted your own attention. In fact, I believe that this is a much more original thing to do. To acquire the ability to independently make a selection and design one’s own “study” is another important goal of the study in the School of International Studies. I recommend that you actively take on the challenge of a wide variety of studies. At the same time, another thing that is important in the study at the School of International Studies is to grow as a human being in order to independently connect with neighbors and society as a citizen. Valuable experience for that can no doubt be obtained by actively participating in the overseas programs, internship system and volunteer activities offered by the university.

Through the studies such as these at the School of International Studies, it is important that you seek what it is you are studying for (i.e. your “Mission”). You will next be required to have an image (i.e. your “Vision”) of what you should do and by when you should do it to realize that mission. Furthermore, you must have the enthusiasm (i.e. “Passion”) to work towards that concrete image. The amount of time that you can spend dedicating yourself to learning at a university is limited. I hope that you will have a Mission, Vision and Passion and live a meaningful student life so that you can become a “World Citizen.”