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Message from the President of Okayama University

Okayama University has a medium term plan for "a new paradigm construction to achieve sustainable evolution in human society", and has been working on solutions for a new concept development to establish based on the existing knowledge architecture to various problems such as those of environments, energy, food, economy, security, education, and so on related to "co-existence of human beings and nature" while utilizing the resources of the university's 11 departments and 7 graduate courses.
Specifically, in October 1994, we started the Faculty of Environmental Science and Technology, which is the first established environment-associated department among national and other public universities of Japan. We established the Graduate School of Environmental Science in April 2005. Thus, we have been working diligently to provide superior education and research functions in the environmental field.
Such achievements we have made have led to adoption of some base establishment projects like the 21st Century COE Program of "Strategic Solid Waste Management for a Sustainable Society" and the Initiative for Attractive Education in Graduate Schools, "Education of environmental studies for precious 'life'".
In 2005, Okayama region was recognized as one of the Regional Centers of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development by the United Nations University, which were called as the initially recognized RCEs, and Okayama Region has been promoting the efforts of ESD.
The UNESCO Chair at Okayama University, which was approved by UNESCO for opening here with us, aims at achieving "research and education for sustainable development". We are hoping to go a step further to establish "a base of education and research in Asia for environmental studies" toward which our Graduate School of Environment Science has been working through the 21st Century COE Program and the attractive graduate school education initiative project.
We have also supported such an activity as the promotion of international contributions, which was led by our region as a whole under the name of "Okayama-Topia for International Contribution" represented by the late president of Okayama University, Sumio Taniguchi. Following such a movement of civil society, Okayama Prefecture has adopted its "Ordinance for Promotion of International Cooperation" in 2004.
The UNESCO Chair at Okayama University,will promote educational program development and international cooperation activities to gain a better understanding to implement ESD for developing countries of in Asia, the Pacific region, and Africa through comprehensive in close cooperation with government organizations, NGOs, and NPOs.
When applying the proposal to establish a UNESCO Chair at Okayama University, we had great support from various organizations such as the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, the Okayama Prefecture Government, the Okayama CityHall, the United Nations University, Okayama UNESCO Association, the Okayama ESD Promotion Commission, Conference of Okayama International NGO Network, and Okayama University of Science.
We greatly appreciate any individual or industry lending additional support and assistance related to the UNESCO Chair at Okayama University. Thank you all.