20th Anniversary Ceremony, Commemorative Lecture and Reception (October 1, 2011)


On October 1st, NAIST celebrated its 20th anniversary with a ceremony, lecture, and reception at Keihanna Plaza. The anniversary was celebrated with a large audience including representatives from MEXT, a locally elected Diet member, representatives of the Ikoma, Nara and Kansai business community, local educational institution officials, those locally involved with NAIST, and graduates and retirees from our school, for a total of over 300 ceremony attendees.

President Akira Isogai opened the ceremony by extending his gratitude to all who have been involved with NAIST and its establishment. Later in his remarks, he stated although trust in science is wavering due to the Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear reactor meltdown, advances in science and technology are crucially important to the achievement of a stable society. We want to continue contributing to the future of Japan and the entire world by conducting cutting-edge research and training the next generation of global leaders. (The full speech can be seen below.) After the president's comments, Kiyoshi Shimizu (Vice Minister, MEXT), Seisuke Okuno (Honory Chairman, the Foundation for the Welfare and Education of the Asian People), and Shosuke Mori (Chairman, Kansai Economic Federation) all expressed their congratulations.

After the ceremony, Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, Director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application of Kyoto University (CiRA), and Honorary NAIST Professor, was invited to give a lecture entitled "Advancements in iPS Cell Research." Roughly 700 citizens were selected by lottery to listen to Professor Yamanaka's enthralling talk, in which he traced his current research back to the research he started here at NAIST. (The contents of Prof Yamanaka's lecture.)

In the reception that followed, President Isogai opened the event, followed by congratulatory remarks from Kazuo Oike (Director, International Institute for Advanced Studies), Makoto Yamashita (Ikoma Mayor), and Akio Tsujii (Chairperson, Foundation for Nara Institute of Science and Technology). After these comments, Monte Cassim (Vice Chancellor, Ritsumeikan Trust) gave a toast to begin a night of pleasant conversation which concluded with Vice President Shinji Murai's closing comments on the successful event.

President's Speech
I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words as we begin the 20th anniversary celebration of NAIST's foundation. We are extremely grateful and proud to share in this celebration with so many of you from near and far.

The founding of NAIST was made possible only through the invaluable effort and assistance of so many, such as Seisuke Okuno (then the Minister of MEXT), National Diet members, the local governments, and the Kansai economic community. Once again I would like to thank all of you for your indispensible roles.

On October 1st of 1991, NAIST was founded not only for the purpose of promoting a high level of research in the fields of advanced science and technology while educating university researchers, but also to methodically cultivate and educate researchers and technicians that will undertake advanced research and development in the private sector. In 1991 the Graduate School of Information Science was established, followed by the Graduate School of Biological Sciences in the next year, and finally the Graduate School of Materials Science was established in 1996, forming NAIST's three-graduate school infrastructure.

During the past two decades, a number of changes have greatly affected NAIST's operations; notably, the focus on graduate schools as the centers of large, national university education and the incorporation of national universities into separate, independent institutions. Amidst these changes, we have been striving as one to achieve the goals set forth originally in the university's mission. In reference to NAIST's public assessment: According to MEXT's evaluation of research and education achievements toward the medium-term goals and plans for the first six-year phase (since 2004), NAIST activities and results were found to be extremely outstanding. Our current high evaluation is solidly based upon the dedication and pursuits of past presidents, faculty and staff to building a new university from the ground up. Not only these people, but also representatives of MEXT, the Kansai economic community and others, have supported and continue to support NAIST, as well as the students and graduates whose efforts demonstrate the results of our activities.

The Great East Japan Earthquake (March 11th) and the resulting tidal waves that triggered the nuclear reactor meltdown have not only brought a cloud upon the Japanese society, but have also shaken people's belief in science and scientists alike. However, for the building of a capable, stable society, further advancements concerning the environment, food supply, energy, and health are indispensable. Information communication technology and material sciences, serving as the basis for these advancements, are also vital at this time. We must keep contributing to the solving of these societal problems and the progress of science, while fostering the education of individuals that will participate actively in a wide variety of fields. We must come together and work together in order to contribute to the future of both Japan and the world. Please continue to watch and support us as we persevere towards these goals.

Thank you for your support today.

October 1st, 2011
Nara Institute of Science and Technology
President Akira Isogai

20th Anniversary Ceremony President Isogai makes a speech. Mr. Shimizu, Vice-Minister of MEXT Mr. Okuno, Honorary Chairman of the Foundation for the Welfare and Education of the Asian People
Mr. Mori, Chairman of the Kansai Economic Federation Audience Commemorative Lecture Dr. Yamanaka, Director of CiRA, Kyoto University gives a lecture.
President Isogai and Dr. Yamanaka Reception President Isogai Dr. Oike, Director of the International Institute for Advanced Studies
Mr. Yamashita, Mayor of Ikoma city Mr. Tsujii, Director of the Foundation for NAIST Dr. Cassim, Vice-Chancellor of the Ritsumeikan Trust Guests
Vice President Murai

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