Presidents of Japanese and Mexican Universities Gathered to Strengthen Collaboration
On October 6-7, the 5th Japan-Mexico Rectors’ Summit was held at Sophia University Yotsuya Campus. The first Summit was held in 2011, and is now held every two years, taking place alternatively in both countries with the aim of bringing together university presidents from Japan and Mexico to promote friendship and for developing new partnerships and collaboration. The conference was originally scheduled to be held at Sophia University in 2021 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 and an online pre-event was held in October of the same year before 2022 Rectors’ Summit in Tokyo.
The conference brought together about 60 participants from 24 universities and institutions in Japan and about 40 participants from 18 universities and institutions in Mexico, with the cooperation of the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) in Japan and the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID), the National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions (ANUIES), and the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) on the Mexican side. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) attended and greeted the participants at the beginning of the Summit. Following the greeting speeches, the participants discussed the social role of universities in dealing with various global risks under the common theme of “Global Risks and Universities,” and discussed the social role of universities in dealing with various global risks.
Following keynote lectures from the Japanese and Mexican representatives, active discussions took place in each sub-theme; “1. Future direction of international exchange and educational activities between Japan and Mexico,” “2. Issues of social fragmentation and inequality,” “3. Environmental issues, climate change, sustainable society,” and “4. Future directions for international joint research between Japan and Mexico.”
From Sophia University, President Yoshiaki Terumichi, Tetsuo Morishita, Vice President for Global Academic Affairs, Hiroyuki Tani, Director of Iberoamerican Institute participated as moderators and representatives, and Noriko Hataya, Dean of Faculty of Foreign Studies also participated as a panelist in Session 2. They exchanged opinions with the participating universities, while introducing various efforts of Sophia university in the main theme.
On the evening of the 6th, a reception was held at the Embassy of Mexico, where participants were able to meet and interact with other participants. On the 7th, the Karate Club of Sophia University gave a performance to deepen understanding of Japanese culture. In addition, as part of the Summit management, the University’s Sustainability Promotion Division collaborated with the conference theme, and SDGs-conscious efforts were made in the distribution of handouts to participants and in the meals served to them.
At the closing ceremony, President Terumichi read out a joint statement to confirm and summarize the results of the two-day conference. “It is the urgent mission of the University to contribute and to collaborate in solving the critical issues surrounding both Japan and Mexico. Building mutual understanding and trust for the sake of future generations will be the key to a concrete and lasting partnership between our two countries. The Summit was a great success as institutes of higher education of two countries pledged to work closely together in all areas to build strong partnerships.” The Joint Statement was concluded and adopted with a round of applause by the participating universities.
The 6th Japan-Mexico Rectors’ Summit is scheduled to be held at the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico (IPN) in Mexico City in 2024.