Magnificent Youths – 2


The title of this column is the same as the previous one and reflects my feelings after spending time with some truly magnificent youths in the past week. 

I have mentioned the GCMP (in Japanese) numerous times on this site, and I participated in the wrap-up meetings  (in Japanese) for the Bangladesh summer program of this year.  Everyone worked in an environment which is dramatically different from Japan and they talked about issues including “water,” “waste,” “health,” and “education.”  I also spoke myself and offered up several suggestions.  They were able to expand their horizons, really grow and widen their circle of acquaintances. 

Next up was the Asian Innovation Forum (Ref.1) organized by Nobuyuki Idei, formerly President of SONY.  I have had the honor of participating in this Forum for the past four years.  I found the Forum of two years ago extremely stimulating, had a more sedate experience last year, but once again found the Forum to be inspiring this year.  This return to form can be partially attributed to six months having elapsed since the events of 3.11.  We also have a new prime minister.  In the face of the rapidly changing world that we live in, one does wonder what those individuals who are our “leaders” of Japan are thinking.  The talk of Naoki Inose, the vice-governor of Tokyo, was straightforward and thoughtful. 

This year I was part of the How Innovation is Changing People, Companies and Society  and participated in the Closing Session panel and gave a Keynote Address.  In the course of these activities I got to hear the ideas and musings of Mr. Idei who is truly a thinker of great depth and perception. 

In the course of the two-day gathering, I had the opportunity to converse with the young participants over lunch and in the meetings, and was impressed with these passionate individuals.  I think, more than anything, that it is important for us to take on the role of pushing these youth to look beyond and outside of themselves and to create arenas for activities.  I believe that many “adults”, having grown up in a different era, do not have a basic understanding of the fundamental differences of days gone by and rapidly becoming uncertain times of globalization.   

I stepped outside after the end of the two-day forum into a raging storm. 

The GRIPS graduation ceremony was held on the 16th (photos) .  As generally happens every year, almost all of the fall graduates are students who spent time with us from abroad.  Attendees included ambassadors from many nations, embassy staff and others and the multicolored flags of many countries lined the campus.  Definitely not your typical Japanese graduation ceremony!  

It was, as always, an emotional and inspiring experience for me to just participate in this GRIPS graduation ceremony and send out youth who will become leaders of nations around the world.