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Message from the Dean

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Since the beginning of the 21st century, the international movement of goods, money, and people has increased dramatically thanks to accelerating progress, the diffusion of information technology, and the rapid development of transport infrastructure. More than ever, there is an undeniable sense of human connections extending beyond the bounds of time and space as the world seems to get smaller and smaller. Meanwhile, traditional structures based on nation-states, nationality, territory, and sovereignty remain largely unchanged, creating a chaotic world filled with conflict and friction between nations and ethnicities. In a global era premised on nation-states, we are constantly faced with global issues that extend beyond the problems of one or two countries. One typical example is the current coronavirus pandemic, but climate change, migrant and refugee problems, food supplies, and energy supplies are also examples.
The Graduate School of Global Studies, Doshisha University is a relatively young independent research department started in 2010. With experts in social sciences (such as political science, economics, and sociology) and humanities (such as literature, history, and religious studies), the Graduate School of Global Studies includes some faculty that are experts on global issues and others that are regional experts focused on one country or relations between two countries. A major characteristic of our department and a key strength is that we study a wide variety of issues in a global context and search for solutions.
During your time studying in the Graduate School of Global Studies, I urge all our graduate students to fully utilize the diverse wealth of educational resources available. In addition to acquiring a solid understanding of the fundamental theories and research methods involved in your specific field, it is also extremely important to broaden your perspective by cultivating an interest in fields adjacent to your own. In addition, I would like you to be mindful of the following three things during your time as a student.
First, strive to make connections with the world outside. For example, actively engage in fieldwork to cultivate a sense of the world as a field to be studied. Meeting with a wide variety of people provides an opportunity to sense things from conversations that cannot be learned from textbooks. That is essentially what “seeing is believing” means. I also recommend enthusiastically participating in the activities of related academic societies. That is because the process of presenting your research results in front of experts or publishing your research paper in an academic journal will help you improve your research skills. Our department also offers financial support for fieldwork and academic conference activities, which you should utilize far as the budget permits.
Second, achieve true mutual understanding through communication. During the pandemic, social distancing is being recommended to prevent infection, but that, of course, is not the way human relationships should be. Cultivating closer connections with other people by talking about your academic field, personal life, or anything else, might trigger new ideas, stimulate your research, or have other beneficial results. The Graduate School of Global Studies attracts young people from around the world with different cultural backgrounds and diverse views on life and values. It provides the perfect opportunity to practice multicultural symbiosis, where differences in native language can be transcended to see things from another person’s perspective and cultivate an attitude for exchanging ideas.
Third, become proficient at gathering and analyzing information. As indicated by the long-term popularity in Japan of the book, “Statistics is the Most Powerful Academic Field,” today’s world strongly demands a quantitative analysis of various aspects of society and the economy. Consequently, mastery of this skill is essential in the information age.
Lastly, I wanted to mention two quotations that I like. The first is “cool heads but warm hearts.” It is a quote from a founder of economics Alfred Marshall, speaking to students studying economics, but presumably also refers to the attitude students should have for all subjects. In other words, in addition to being able to analyze things in a rational manner, we also need to have warm compassion for people in a more vulnerable position in society.
The other quote is from the famous lyrics for a song “Ikiteiru to iu koto wa” (Being Alive), written by lyricist Rokusuke Ei. “No one can survive alone, no one can walk alone. Living means being indebted to someone else, living means returning that debt. If a debt was extended to you, pay it forward. Just as someone offered help to you, offer help to others.”



Shanping YAN
Dean, the Graduate School of Global Studies