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Top>HAKUMON Chuo [2012 Autumn Issue]>[News & Chuo University News] Recommendations of an Internationalist: Chuo University Special Lecture


[News & Chuo University News]

Recommendations of an Internationalist: Chuo University Special Lecture

Mr. Koichiro Matsuura
Former Director-General of UNESCO, President of la Maison Franco-Japonaise

A Chuo University special lecture was held to commemorate the establishment of the Association for Promoting International Cooperation, a new organization of Chuo University. Mr. Koichiro Matsuura (75) has held positions including Japanese Ambassador to France and Director-General of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Mr. Matsuura discussed his recommendations as an internationalist as based on 50 years of total experience; 40 years as a diplomat and 10 years at UNESCO. The lecture was held on October 3rd at the large lecture room of Building No. 8 on the Chuo University Tama Campus. The auditorium was packed with an audience of students, staff and faculty members.

Starting from a novel

Although the lecture was expected to be formal, it started with a familiar topic. "I have always loved novels," said Mr. Matsuura. "From French culture to Germany and Russia, I became interested in foreign countries through novels." Some students in the audience nodded in agreement, almost as if they already considered themselves to be internationalists.

Mr. Matsuura spent a total of 16 years in France as a Japanese Ambassador to France and as a UNESCO official (Paris Headquarters). During his time at UNESCO, he visited 190 countries. He speaks English, French and Spanish. Drawing upon this vast experience, he talked to students about how to become a global professional and a leader that works at an international institution.

Know Japan and understand foreign countries

"As a Japanese person, you should thoroughly study Japanese history and culture. When overseas, each Japanese person is a representative of Japan and is expected to know everything about Japan. Also, you should become interested in foreign countries and deepen your understanding of different cultures. You should use an international perspective to analyze international issues and domestic issues. Consider the position in Japanese history and world history, form your own opinions and debate with others in a foreign language. I hope that you will work hard and learn from others."

During his time as Director-General of UNESCO, he considered issues throughout the entire world. The United States had withdrawn from UNESCO due to dissatisfaction with the organization's operation. Mr. Matsuura submitted a reform proposal to the United States and sought understanding through persistent negotiation. In October 2003, the United States joined UNESCO again for the first time in 19 years. For this reason, Mr. Matsuura is known for rejuvenating UNESCO.

When hiring personnel, he required that the applicant possess at least a master's degree and, as much as possible, a PhD.

"You should have a clear field of expertise. Even while possessing a field of expertise, a wide perspective is necessary when responding to various issues. Make firm decisions based on this perspective."

"University education is important for cultivating global professionals. Even after graduating, I hope that you will continue to study at your workplace."

Mr. Matsuura stood during his entire lecture. His passionate speech was greeted with thunderous applause at the end of the lecture.