Okayama University


Okayama University Participates in Online International Conference to Discuss Educational Approaches in an Era of Global Uncertainties in Collaboration with York University and UNESCO-Affiliated Organizations

February 01, 2021

On January 20 to 22, Okayama University participated in an international online conference titled “Sustainable & Inclusive Internationalization Virtual Conference”.
The conference was co-organized by York University, Canada, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO), the International Association of Universities (IAU) and Okayama University.

In preparation for the “International Day of Education” on January 24, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018, the conference brought together professionals and practitioners, students and scholars, as well as policy makers and other stakeholders involved in higher education to discuss the challenges and prospects of coordinating international education in an era of global uncertainties.

Okayama University signed a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with York University on August 31, 2020. It is a top university that was ranked 33 overall by Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2020 for its dedication to achieving the SDGs. In June 2020, the university also announced its University Academic Plan to directly tackle the SDGs. York University invited Okayama University Vice President for Global Engagement Strategy and UNESCO Chairholder in Research and Education for Sustainable Development YOKOI Atsufumi to become an Academic Committee Member, which subsequently led to Okayama University’s cooperation in this online international conference. Other Academic Committee Members include UNESCO Chairholder in Reorienting Education towards Sustainability Professor Charles A. Hopkins, who is considered a leading authority in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), as well as
Secretary General of IAU Hilligje van't Land.

At the opening ceremony on the third day, Okayama University President MAKINO Hirofumi gave the opening remarks, explaining Okayama University’s endeavors to promote sustainability and well-being as a research university and emphasizing the need for multiple stakeholders to collaborate towards “Building Back Better” in order to support a “new normal”. Afterwards, video messages recorded by student representatives MATSUMOTO Sota (4th year, Faculty of Law) and AKIYAMA Risa (4th year, Global Discovery Program) talking about their international experiences at One Young World Global Summit and Okayama University’s Global Discovery Program, respectively, were streamed.  

On the second day, Okayama University Institute of Global Human Resource Development Professor KANBARA Nobuyuki moderated a panel discussion on “Mobility Programs Beyond Academics: Global and Community Engagement”. On the last day, Vice President Yokoi organized and moderated a networking session on the important role that universities can play in the effort towards achieving Human and Planetary Health. Vice President Yokoi also shared Okayama University’s framework for achieving the SDGs, which places an emphasis on connecting local regions to international networks to achieve global engagement.  

At the closing ceremony, the conference partners, including York University, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, IAU and Okayama University committed to the 2021 Toronto Declaration. Finally, Okayama University announced its plan to participate in the International Day of Education.

○Official website

○Video message by President Makino
○Video message by Okayama University students

○Video message by Vice President for Global Engagement Strategy and UNESCO Chairholder in Research and Education for Sustainable Development Yokoi