My Commencement Speech at the Autumn Graduation Ceremony at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)


The autumn graduation ceremony at GRIPS is made up of mostly foreign students (seventy percent of the students are foreign students who come from over sixty different countries). The diversity and uniqueness of each country shines through and is awe-inspiring and is a rare sight in Japan. The ambassadors and staff members from embassies of the students’ countries often are present at the ceremony.

This year, the graduation ceremony was held on September 17th. The program includes the conferment of diplomas, the Dean’s award, the President’s address, and the valedictory speech.

I was chosen to give the Commencement speech. I am grateful for this opportunity. It is my third time this year to give a commencement speech. In April, I gave the speech at the entrance ceremony at the University of Tokyo (although it is not the graduation ceremony, I believe it has the same significance as graduation ceremonies in universities abroad), and in July have the speech at the graduation ceremony at the United Nations University (1).

In recent years at GRIPS, one person has been chosen to give the commencement speech. Last year, it was given by the executive director of ASEAN, Surin Pitsuwan (the speech can be viewed here).

The speech for the 2010 graduation ceremony was given by Haruhiko Kuroda, who has been paid much attention recently by the world on ‘Abenomic’ as head of Bank of Japan and he was the President of the Asian Development Bank at the time.

It is my hope that my wishes and congratulations that I have poured into the commencement speech (video is here) will reach outgoing student hearts.

I am always filled with a feeling of awe at graduation ceremonies, from which young people take off and carry the future on their shoulders.

This is a privilege that comes with being involved in education.