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Professor SAKAMOTO Hiroshi President, Aoyama Gakuin University
I have been chosen to serve as the 19th Aoyama Gakuin University president for a term of 4 years. With kind cooperation and support from all of you, I hope to help the University grow during these years.
Many demands for innovations and improvements are being made of the University today, but I believe that, during such a period of change, one must look back to the institution's roots. Aoyama Gakuin was established during the early Meiji Period (late 19th century), originally set up as three schools by three American missionaries from the Methodist Episcopal Church. Throughout our history we have aimed to carry out education based upon the Christian faith in our educational efforts, and for each innovation and transformation we make at the University we must never fail to preserve our 148 years of history and tradition.
Our goal at Aoyama Gakuin University is the building up of persons who live in sincerity before God, who seek for truth with humility, and who actively take responsibility for all people and for society in a spirit of love and service. We create curricula tailored to the needs of the times in each undergraduate school and department as well as each graduate school, and through these convey advanced, specialized knowledge founded on the latest research while also promoting student research.
However, a university striving to cultivate educated, skilled people through its education system must not stop at the provision of specialized knowledge alone. By harnessing our University-wide education system, known as The Aoyama Standard, we work to ensure that society highly values all graduates, no matter their chosen academic school and department, for meeting a certain standard for knowledge and refinement while also exhibiting a certain level of skill and ability. This includes subjects related to understanding Christianity taught at the University, which together form the central pillar of our education system. We strive to inherit and preserve the principles of our predecessors while strengthening educational and cultural refinement efforts even further.
When discussing traditions that must be preserved, one must not forget about internationalization. During the Meiji Period, students with a strong desire to learn English and study Western educational fields came together here, thus forming the Aoyama English-language education tradition. Here at Aoyama Gakuin University, we hope to preserve this tradition while furthering our efforts in the area of internationalization.
We have also set up chat rooms led by international students, which serve as places for international exchange in other languages. Participants can learn about the cultures and lifestyles of people from other countries through chat sessions, thus making new discoveries and gaining knowledge through their experiences.
Furthermore, we offer preparatory seminars for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), held for the sake of Aoyama Gakuin University students who want to join exchange study programs. Moving forward, we hope to further strengthen our exchange-study support framework in order to help as many students as possible successfully join exchange programs.
In research-related endeavors, we make use of the global network provided by the International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges and Universities (IAMSCU) in order to promote further internationalization efforts.
It is our hope that Aoyama Gakuin University students who study under our school motto, "The Salt of the Earth, The Light of the World," will become persons who actively take responsibility for all people and for society. Salt is not an extraordinary seasoning, and one might go so far as to say that it's quite plain; however, it is an ingredient that helps to prevent food spoilage, and it also adds flavor. Light, on the other hand, brings down the rule of darkness, illuminates the world, and helps to lead us much like a lighthouse leads a ship.
Here at Aoyama Gakuin University, it is my hope that our institution will be able to serve people everywhere while continuing to be a joint education and research organization that serves God and persons, and contributes to society.
Professor SAKAMOTO Hiroshi
President, Aoyama Gakuin University