Okayama University


Okayama University Integrated Report Forum 2020 - Examining Engagement Fostered by a University with a Management Strategy That Emphasizes the SDGs

December 02, 2020

On November 28, Okayama University held the 2nd annual "Okayama University Integrated Report Forum 2020" at the 50th Anniversary T. Kanemitsu Hall. The forum was simultaneously broadcast online, allowing approximately 200 Okayama University students and alumni, officials from other universities, stakeholders, and local high school students and residents to participate in the event. President MAKINO Hirofumi opened the forum by outlining plans for Okayama University’s management strategy, which emphasizes the SDGs, and introducing important points published in the 2020 integrated report. He noted that the “Pay it Forward” strategy related to realization of the SDGs has developed and grown remarkably, stating, “It is important to continue expanding the circle of education and innovation in our community in order to foster values that support sustainability.”

Next, the university invited corporate and administrative leaders in the community to participate as panelists in a discussion with a faculty member, a member of administrative staff, and a student on the theme of “Examining Engagement Fostered by a University with a Management Strategy That Emphasizes the SDGs”. President of Hagihara Industries Inc. ASANO Kazushi, who promotes research and personal exchange in collaboration with Okayama University, said, “After reading the integrated report, I realized that Okayama University operates similarly to business. This allowed me to see the university as more accessible and approachable than what I had previously.” Okayama University alumni and the current mayor of Akaiwa city TOMOZANE Takenori stated, “The university’s vision has a lot in common with my own administrative work. I hope that Okayama University will continue to create an environment that fosters analytical, specialized research and researchers.”

Mr. MAKI Haruki (Faculty of Law, 4th year), Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology Professor INOUE Mayuri, and International Affairs Department Director HARADA Miki spoke from the perspectives of student, faculty, and staff, respectively, on their past activities and future ambitions to achieve university-wide engagement relating to the SDGs. In particular, Mr. Maki expressed his desire for “the next integrated report to include activities from the humanities sector.” 

As the various participants exchanged their opinions, questions arose regarding the meaning of “engagement”, to which President Makino responded, “Engagement involves a positive approach to dealing with global issues by seeking out new knowledge and new ways to find a solution together.” His response led the way for a lively exchange of opinions to deepen understanding about the theme of “engagement”. At the end of the panel discussion, Vice Executive Director AOO Ken, who acted as a facilitator, said, “With the expectation that Okayama University will continue to forge ahead with our management strategies, I feel as though this forum has given us the space to question whether or not we are moving forward meaningfully.”

Executive Director for Planning and General Affairs and Director of the IR/IE Office TAKAHASHI Kayo concluded the event by summarizing, “I think that it is important to take heed of the opinions expressed today and incorporate them into our plans for the upcoming year.”