The 21st century is opening up a new era of opportunity and challenge, of wonderful possibilities and also enormous dangers. The pace of globalization is changing the world economy before our very eyes. We cannot even imagine the extent to which advances in information technology and new breakthroughs in science and medicine are going to change the way we live.
It is difficult to envision the future even in the decade ahead much less what things will be like forty or fifty years from now.
In some fields it is difficult to conceive what things will be like even a few years from now.
How to secure a peaceful world, how to preserve the living standards of people in developed countries and raise them in less developed ones, how to insure that every human being enjoys basic human rights, how to give people the opportunity to lead happy and productive lives are the challenges that young people will have to grapple with over the coming decades.
Universities have an important role to play in educating people to meet these challenges. It is important not only to learn technical skills but to develop the ability to think critically and imaginatively, skills that young people can carry into their future lives after they leave university. It is here where liberal arts education has a crucial role to play. Liberal arts education gives people the intellectual tools they need to understand the complex world in which we live.
Rikkyo University has been a leading educational institution in Japan for more than 140 years and is renowned for its emphasis on the liberal arts and the high quality of the education it offers. In the spring of 2017, Rikkyo University will launch a Global Liberal Arts Program （GLAP）, an ambitious endeavor to develop a select group of talented young people with outstanding leadership skills and the ability to interact with people around the world in searching for solutions to common problems.
I have very high expectations for GLAP. I think it will provide wonderful experiences for the students who participate in it and I believe that it can help bring about needed fundamental change in Japanese higher education.
Japanese universities have played a central role in the development of Japanese society. Now is the time for them to play an important role in the globalized world. Rikkyo University’s GLAP undertaking has the goal of educating young Japanese who have a global outlook and will be global leaders with roots in Japan’s own traditions and culture. It is my hope that participants in the program will develop a universal outlook, strong ideals, and leadership skills while retaining important qualities such as humility and compassion and empathy for people with different backgrounds and historical experiences.
21世紀は、チャンスとチャレンジ、素晴らしい可能性、そして巨大なリスクが混在する時代。未来へ向け、世界の若者たちが取り組むべき課題は山積みです。大学には、こうした課題に対応する教育を行う重要な役割があります。中でも、複雑な世界を理解する知的ツールを手に入れることができるリベラルアーツ教育が大きな役割を果たすと考えています。立教大学は140年以上にわたり、教育の質の高さにおいて評価されてきました。2017年春、立教大学は、卓越したリーダーシップ能力と世界の人々と対話する能力を併せ持つ若者の育成へ向け、Global Liberal Arts Program（GLAP）を開設します。入学者たちが国際的な視野を広げ、確かな理想を持ち、リーダーシップ能力を伸ばしていくことを期待しています。