On Tuesday, January 22, 2013, Ochanomizu University hosted the A-WiL Symposium* under the theme, “Global Women Leaders Create Tomorrow—Announcements from Ochanomizu University.”
This symposium is Ochanomizu University’s attempt as a women’s university to raise questions regarding today’s university education, as part of the movement for the development of women leaders.
The venue was full with approximately 150 students and visitors. In contrast to the previous symposium which was held under the theme, “Considering Today from the Future,” this symposium’s theme was more proactive and specific. The symposium kicked off with President Hanyu announcing her wish to make this an opportunity to discuss what exactly is a woman who works in a global arena, and what students must aspire for and learn in order to become future leaders.
* A-WiL: Ochanomizu University’s International Research Program for the Advancement of Women in Leadership (funded by MEXT Special Budget, AY2010-2015)
The keynote speech was given by Shoei Utsuda, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mitsui & Co., Ltd., a top Japanese company active in global industry. Utsuda spoke of how globalization is the inevitable mingling of various cultures and ways of thinking, and that we must respond to the changes of the times and environment while retaining our unique Japanese qualities, of which we can be proud. One memorable point he emphasized was that there is no fundamental difference between men and women, in that we must all “improve ourselves and establish our individuality.”
The keynote speech was followed by a panel discussion with three noteworthy global women leaders: Hideko Kunii, Chairperson of the Board of Ricoh IT Solutions Co., Ltd.; Sakie Tachibana Fukushima, President and Representative Director of G&S Global Advisors Inc.; and Yuko Harayama, Professor at the School of Engineering, Tohoku University, and former Deputy Director of the Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry, OECD. Their powerful messages based on experience and achievements were that in order to become global women leaders we must “acquire a diverse mentality and learn to adapt to changes” (Kunii), “gain both independence and self-control” (Tachibana), and “take initiative and learn from mistakes” (Hayarama). After the discussion they answered many questions from the attending students and visitors.
A post-event of the A-WiL Symposium called “Alumni and Student Exchange—Communicating Face-to-Face” was held on the same day. This was the first event of its kind at Ochanomizu University, designed to kick-start networking between students, alumni and faculty members.
The university invited alumni who currently work at educational institutions (junior high and high schools), government bodies and corporations. About 35 were able to attend this time. More than 70 people attended from Ochanomizu University, including faculty members and 40 students, from first year undergraduate students to first year students doing their Master’s studies.
The attending students noted how they “were encouraged by the alumni who were working in a variety of genres” and that “the alumni answered questions willingly and extracted what I wanted to know with kindness.” It seems that the students were able to gain helpful advice from alumni in a friendly atmosphere, while also enjoying a delicious French meal.
The university plans to host more such opportunities of exchange between students and alumni, and looks forward to seeing more people attend.
Ochanomizu University Homepage Steering Committee
2-1-1 Otsuka, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8610, Japan
Copyright © OCHANOMIZU UNIVERSITY. All rights reserved.