The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

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From the past Waseda of Japan to the future WASEDA of the world

As Waseda University marked its 125th anniversary on October 21, 2007, we made a resounding pledge that within the next 10 years, Waseda would elevate its status as a Japanese university to become a truly global university.

Today, as we confront problems on a worldwide scale, including the seemingly insoluble challenges of global warming and economic disparity, we are deeply concerned about the decline in Japan's clout in the international community. In these difficult times, it is especially important that universities, which have striven for the pursuit of truth and remained uninfluenced by power and authority or the imperatives of immediate gain, to play a vigorous role in opening a new era

From the time of its foundation, Waseda University has stood upon the three pillars of mission: to uphold the "Independence of Learning," to promote the "Practical Utilization of Knowledge," and to "Create Good Citizenship." We are now setting our sights at nothing less than a concrete vision of how we can most appropriately put these principles into practice in contemporary society.

Fostering the development of individuals who play an active role on the world stage

Since Waseda University accepted its first exchange students in 1893, we have developed deep ties with countries around the world, especially in Asia. At present, Waseda University has research and student exchange agreements with more than 600 overseas universities and educational research institutions. Waseda currently accepts nearly 4,000 foreign students and dispatches 1,700 Waseda students overseas, including exchanges made outside the University-wide Agreements. In 2010, we began a phased implementation of English-language Bachelor's and Master's degree programs in five undergraduate schools and six graduate schools. Further, a new graduate school, which will concentrate on communication in English, is scheduled to be established in 2012. Additionally, Waseda has been promoting practical English-language instruction provided by native speaker instructors for small classes, and has expanded the University's double degree programs in cooperation with leading international institutions of higher education, thereby uplifting Waseda University to be a leading university in international exchange in Japan.

These programs and systems are designed to provide students with both study-abroad experience and opportunities at home to work hard and hone their potentials by learning with foreign students whose cultural backgrounds vary in a wide range. In so doing, all students will be able to achieve a more international outlook, become empowered to speak out and negotiate on the international stage.

A variety of programs responding to the requirements of our times

In recent years, Waseda University has expanded its professional training facilities in its six professional schools and five independent graduate schools. We have also established three new joint graduate schools with three distinguished universities, including Tokyo Women's Medical University. These programs aim for a fusion of theory and practice as well as to develop new fields of research. The common thread, however, is to cultivate problem solving and planning abilities to deal with the problems posed by contemporary society. It is our hope that the fruits of research and educational methodologies will be incorporated into the education that is implemented in Waseda's graduate and undergraduate programs.

It will take a diversity of approaches which synthesize the ways of the natural and social sciences, as well as the liberal arts, to respond to the new challenges of a society in which technology has reached a sophisticated level of development and the interrelation of social structures has become increasingly complex. Since its founding, Waseda University has embodied the fusion of scholarly principle with practice. Our University has strong ties to universities, enterprises, and governments both at home and abroad, and is well suited to support the integration of these fields. But it is not necessary to create new undergraduate or graduate programs in order to respond to these new challenges. With its abundant academic and human resources, the organization of Waseda University is already more than prepared to address these needs. In light of this point of view, Waseda has been providing a wide range of both research and educational programs through a Research Council organization that coordinates laboratories across the University, enabling our students to take classes in advanced fields of the English language, mathematics, and writing for their basic education, in addition to health and other advanced areas of study. We also have a system in place to furnish our students with opportunities to gain practical experience through participation in business workshops, internships, volunteer work, and other activities.

Dynamism unleashed by diversity

Diversity is an important feature of Waseda University. In an academic setting that accords the highest respect to freedom and creativity, students with ranging backgrounds reciprocate intellectual inspiration among the University's faculty and staff abounding in individuality, while building their own capabilities in research, education, culture, and sports. This is evident in over 560,000 Waseda alumni who are active in every field. The University offers scholarship support, dormitories, and a system designed to provide students a comprehensive support, such as with their physical and mental health. We continue to endeavor towards maintaining an environment for Waseda students who gather from both abroad and all regions in Japan to enjoy the distinctive features that the University has to offer.

All members of the Waseda University community, from faculty and staff, students to graduates, are at one with me on the aspiration to make our University a true citizen of an international society by sending out into the world individuals possessed of profound knowledge and a deep sense of humanity.