On the eve of its 130th anniversary, Waseda University has set itself the goal of transcending its Japanese identity and becoming a truly global university, one that cultivates young leaders able to make a substantial contribution to humankind and the global community, that brings together students and faculty from all regions of the world. Today we have agreements on exchanging researchers and students with more than 600 overseas universities and educational and research institutions. The university has to date accepted almost 40,000 students from abroad, including those not covered by such agreements, and sends 1,700 Waseda students abroad each year.
In April 2009, Waseda University set up EUIJ Waseda to serve as a hub for promoting academic cooperation and educational exchanges between Japan and the EU. Waseda and the EU had already established cooperative ties through such initiatives as the EU-Japan Friendship Week symposium focusing on political and economic issues, the Executive Training Programme (ETP) in Japan for businesspersons from the EU, and the EU Framework Programme (FP) for Research and Technological Development involving scientists and engineers. EUIJ Waseda aims to foster systematic cooperation between Japan and the EU in meeting global challenges; to that end it rises above the level of faculty and university, and indeed the academic community as a whole, to work with politicians, civil servants, industry, and civil society at large. I am confident that through its programmes EUIJ Waseda can play a significant role in the University's mission of producing graduates ready to pursue careers on the world stage, and can do much to build bridges between Waseda -- and Japan as a whole -- and the EU.
The Lisbon Treaty came into force in December 2009, and the European Union (EU) is now taking steps to institutionalize economic governance in light of the lessons of the economic crisis. How is the EU changing? What stance should Japan adopt to the EU, and how can it strengthen ties of cooperation with it?
With the globalization of the international community, there are a growing number of areas where implementing policy at the supranational, EU level is proving a more effective approach for member states. And Japan and the European countries face many of the same challenges: an aging population, employment and unemployment policies, dealing with the effects of the financial and economic crisis. Such problems can in not a few cases be solved by cooperating on the policy front and learning from each other's approaches, which is why academic collaboration is so vital.
The aspiring researcher on EU affairs must first acquire a basic knowledge of the EU's institutions and policy-making mechanisms, then develop an understanding of its relations with member states. That requires the systematic, comprehensive study of a multitude of disciplines. Waseda University has achieved considerable success in addressing that need. Through the Organization for European Studies and its affiliate, EUIJ Waseda, it conducts interdisciplinary education and research programmes that integrate the humanities and sciences and transcend the specialties of individual undergraduate and graduate schools.
Many outstanding scholars are actively engaged in research on the EU and individual European countries at Waseda University, particularly the Organization for European Studies. By interacting with students, researchers, and civil society, EUIJ Waseda strives to deepen mutual understanding between Japan and Europe and foster cooperation in finding solutions to the common challenges facing both; it also trains individuals capable of contributing to the further development of ties between them. Building on its impressive achievements over the past two years, EUIJ Waseda seeks to further relations between Europe and Japan and, recognizing the importance of both, support their joint efforts to promote global governance.