University News | November 21, 2023
On 31 October and 1 November 2023, the Forum on the Future for Children: Sustainable Development for Future Generations gathered researchers, university and high school students, policy makers and community engaged people to Hokkaido. The Forum was a place to cultivate research and collaboration seeds to tackle with recent global and regional challenges: low birth-rate, generation-to-generation changes in lifestyle, stagnation of regional economic growth, health literacy improvement, energy issues, and impacts of global conflicts which resulted in uncertainty for young people’s future prospect. Hokkaido University has been designated as a platform institution of the Program on Open Innovation Platforms for Industry-academia Co-creation (COI-NEXT) that scheme is budgeted by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and Japanese Science and Technology Agency (JST). Through the designated platform, Hokkaido University COI-NEXT Hub to Co-create a Life Design for Mind and Body, the University has strived to connect stakeholders in and around Hokkaido to realise a co-designed society for the future of younger generations.
This kick-off event comprised case study sessions by experts from Japan, Taiwan, and Korea, online communications for university and high school students in Japan and Korea, and the Forum which was co-arranged with the 26th Hokkaido University (HU) – Seoul National University (SNU) Joint Symposium. The two-day event was started by Executive Vice President Takao Masuda and moderated by Specially-appointed Professor Masanori Yoshino, both from HU. Case studies included ‘Implementation of pre-conception care’ by Associate Professor Takeshi Umazume, HU Hospital; ‘Career vision and attitude towards marriage and family life of the young generation in Taiwan’ by Associate Professor Li-Fang Liang and Ms Yu-Sheng Yang, National Dong Hwa University (NDHU); ‘Fewer children, more confusion: how Taiwanese female college students make sense of intimate relationships’ by Associate Professors Chih-Chia Chuang and You-Lin Tsai, and Ms Yung-Hsin Wu, NDHU; and ‘Gender war and the retreat from marriage in South Korea’ by Assistant Professor Joeun Kim, KDI School of Public Policy and Management. Online communications for university and high school students welcomed five students from Ritsumeikan Keisho High School, three students from Incheon Haneul Academy, and ten Japanese and international students from HU, NDHU and National Graduate Institute of Policy Studies. Their conversations varied from their future prospect, current fears, differences between Japanese and Korean high schools, living with families, to hobbies, with facilitation by Professor Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu, Stanford University, Assistant Professor Sikopo Pauline Nyambe, Centre for Ainu and Indigenous Studies, HU, and University Research Administrator (International) Taena Uemura, Institute for International Collaboration, HU.
Day 2 was resumed by President Kiyohiro Houkin, HU, and received congratulatory remarks by President Honglim Ryu, SNU, Professor William D. H. Li, NDHU, and Director Ichiro Ikeda of the Division of Industry Cooperation and Regional Development, MEXT. Both the keynote talks by Professor and Former President Oussouby Sacko, Kyoto Seika University, and the following panel discussion by him, Professor Murphy-Shigematsu, and Executive Vice President Aya Takahashi, HU and Specially-appointed Professor Yoshino emphasised universities’ roles towards children under huge pressure yet with less encouragement for natural curiosity, and importance to maintain a place to connect people and share their expertise and wisdom. In closing, Chairman Hiroshi Komiyama, Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc. and a Former President of the University of Tokyo confirmed the participants’ expectation for the future of this Forum. The event was designed aiming at launching the International Congress for Future Children in Hokkaido in 2026, about which the organisers dream to expand as the well-known Davos Congress in the future.
(Photos and Text by the Institute for International Collaboration and HU COI-NEXT)