NTU President Dr. Si-chen Lee Signed Agreement of
Cooperation with the Kyushu University of Japan
Taking the Director of the Office of International Affairs Dr. Shen Tung, Head of the Department of Entomology Dr. Cheng-jen Shih, and Institute of Linguistics Professor Dr. Chia-Rung Lu with him, President of NTU Dr. Si-Chen Lee paid an official visit to NTU's sister school the Kyushu University of Japan in early April. Last year, when NTU was celebrating its 80th founding anniversary, the Office of International Affairs was handling the Conference of Asian University Presidents. Kyushu University was the chair for the international organization of the Conference. Dr. Setsuo Arikawa, President of Kyushu University, made a personal appearance to Taipei to preside over the conference and also to extend his congratulations to NTU. While he was in Taipei, Dr. Arikawa invited President Lee to go to Japan in April of this year to become the guest of honor at Kyushu University's Freshmen Initiation Ceremony and to deliver a keynote speech while signing a memorandum of cooperation between the two schools and participating in the opening ceremony of Kyushu University's Ito campus at the same time.
The Freshmen Initiation Ceremony is an important tradition of Kyushu University. On the 7th of April, in addition to the 2700 first year students, many parents also donned formal attire to attend the Initiation Ceremony held at the International Conference Center of Fukuoka City. In his keynote speech, President Lee urged the new Japanese college students to make good use of their four year's time to establish a broad basis of knowledge so that they may be able to adapt to a rapidly changing world. In the meantime, the students should be concerned with the crises confronting mankind, cultivate an international perspective, and understand the culture, political/economic situations of the developing countries, said Dr. Lee. Citing China and India as examples for comparison, Dr. Lee said that while the 2700 new students of Kyushu University were enjoying the beginning of their college life, there are 6 million students in China embarking on their university education and 400,000 students in India doing the same. These 6 million plus students will become potential competitors for the Japanese students in the future, said Dr. Lee. To conclude his speech, Dr. Lee cited the four words autographed by Dr. Sun Yat-sen when he visited Kyushu University in 1913, to wit: " Learn the great way and love your people." He told the new students that in order to become the cornerstones of society and let themselves be true intellectuals, they must improve their moral character and sharpen their professional knowledge to scale new heights. President Lee's speech was given impromptu translation by Professor Chia-Rung Lu and won enthusiastic applause from the audience.
After the ceremony, President Arikawa thanked President Lee profusely and repeatedly, saying that President Lee's speech was imbued with a high degree of international vision and awakening power, and had immense impact on the new students of Kyushu University.
Another important purpose of President Lee's visit to Japan was to sign an agreement of cooperation with Kyushu University. Since Kyushu University singed a memorandum of cooperation with NTU in 2001, the two universities started exchanging students immediately, so far 17 NTU students have been exchanged with Kyushu University. In addition, the NTU College of Medicine and the NTU Main Library maintained close ties with Kyushu University in terms of research exchange. During President Lee's trip to Japan, President Lee signed an official agreement of cooperation with Kyushu University, bringing the cooperation between the two universities to a higher level. Dr. Cheng-Jen Shih, Head of the Department of Entomology, capitalized on the occasion to visit Professor Kazuo Ogata of the Institute of Tropical Agriculture at Kyushu University, where they intended to embark upon close research cooperation with regard to the study of red fire ants. Also worth mentioning is the fact that the NTU delegation participated in the opening ceremony of the Ito campus of Kyushu University. Situated at the Northwestern coastal area of Kyushu, the Ito campus has undergone ten years of land reclamation and construction, and is now equipped with a grandiose scale, looking very impressive. The delegation also paid a visit to the branch school of Waseda University located at the Northern part of Kyushu. That branch school was the result of the effort of the Kyushu government to upgrade local industry by developing "academic research cities," enticing academic institutions to move in by providing them with sound, comprehensive planning. The Waseda University established "Graduate Institute of Information, Production, and System" at the Kyushu Branch School, where the courses are taught in English and Japanese, and international students make up 70% of the enrollment. NTU's Department of Information Engineering is discussing a dual degree program with Waseda University with a view toward closer cooperation in the future.
As far as NTU is concerned, Japan has always been an important region for international cooperation. Of the 296 sister schools of NTU, Japan alone has 33, second only to the United States. And of all the international students enrolled at NTU this year, Japan has 83 (including degree students and exchange students), taking up the second place. NTU's research cooperation with Japan has been developing by leaps and bounds, and Kyushu University has been an important partner for us. With President Lee's personal visit to the Kyushu University, future cooperation between the two schools shall continue to thrive, creating more opportunities for exchange for faculty and students.