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Greeting from the President

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Keizo Yamaguchi, President of Hokkaido University

Thank you very much for attending Hokkaido University Sustainability Weeks 2016.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Sustainability Weeks program.

In 2005, when the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development started, we developed the Hokkaido University Initiative for Sustainable Development (HUISD). It was the beginning of our challenge – the challenge of promoting education and research for global sustainability across the university.

Under this initiative, we launched the Sustainability Weeks program, consisting of a series of academic events, in 2007. This was also on the back of the decision of the leaders of the “Group of Eight” major economies to meet to discuss important global issues in the Hokkaido town of Toyako in 2008. We initiated the Sustainability Weeks program to provide an opportunity during the build-up to the G8 Summit for more people to engage in discussions on the sustainability issues tackled by our researchers and students.

In the first year, the program featured several research meetings mainly in the natural science field. However, it saw a gradual increase in the number of events, which came to include those with the themes of humanities, social science and medical science as well as those organized by students. Today, the program features a variety of grouped events with participants coming from around the world.

We can say that the tiny seed we sowed has grown into a colorful forest, and that the various events constituting the forest have come not only to provide forums for discussion for the creation of a sustainable society but also to produce the fruits and seeds necessary to pass on wisdom to the next generation.

This year also marks the launch of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We therefore chose The Role of Higher Education for Sustainable Development Goals as the theme of Sustainability Weeks in a landmark year that witnesses the 10th anniversary of the program. It will facilitate multifaceted discussions on what can be done to promote sustainability by college students, researchers and universities.

In closing, I wish the program will provide a meaningful opportunity for the many academics and local residents aspiring to help achieve the SDGs by 2030 to chart their future course of action.

Keizo Yamaguchi

President of Hokkaido University