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Overview of International Initiatives Headquarters

Currently, Japanese universities are facing a time of great change. Not only are pressing issues of university management and restructuring being carried out against the backdrop of the falling birthrate and the aging population, but rapid changes related to the economic and social systems, together with the globalization of international society, are also presenting huge challenges to institutions of higher education. The global trend to ensure quality in higher education is particularly striking and is leading to international competition among universities and to the promotion of international partnerships. Issues related to the international recognition and commonality of degrees, intensified competition for securing external funding, and educational projects carried out across borders are only part of a larger picture, where evaluations designed to strengthen competitiveness and market-style evaluation such as rankings and ratings are beginning to exert an overwhelming influence, resulting in an unprecedented scrutiny of the quality and quantity of educational and research activities.

In this context, drawing on the university's history and accomplishments, Hitotsubashi University has been actively promoting the study of cutting-edge social science research to meet the demands of the 21st century, and as an educational and research center of worldwide focus, the university aims to provide theoretical and practical solutions to important issues shared by Japan, Asia and the world. In its 2nd-phase mid-term plan Hitotsubashi University has already announced its intention of accelerating internationalization through the promotion of international exchange in both faculties and graduate schools, in order to produce a diversity of world-class individuals. The promotion of internationalization in education is the crucial issue for the internationalization of the university as a whole, and we have set numerical targets such as welcoming 900 international students (to form 15% of the student body) and dispatching 300 Japanese students (about one-third of the annual undergraduate intake) overseas.

To address these issues, the Office for the Promotion of International Relations has been enlarged and reorganized as the International Initiatives Headquarters under the direct leadership of the President so that the university can work as a whole toward accelerating the pace of internationalization. Furthermore, to support the International Initiatives Headquarters, the Office of International Initiatives has been established to carry out the necessary functional roles. In addition, the Center for Student Exchange and the Student Exchange Division, which functioned as the contact points for international exchange, have been enlarged and reorganized as the Center for Global Education and the International Affairs Division in order to provide students with an international competitive edge and to address relevant university-wide issues from a new perspective.

Also, while valuing our tradition as an academic institution that focuses comprehensively on the social sciences and the study of civil society, we will open up new frontiers in research and education to respond to the need to nurture progressive individuals who will work resolutely to solve global issues, and to realize this purpose a bold global strategy is essential.

Office of International Initiatives' roles and functions

The Office of International Initiatives plays a central role in strategically promoting the university's contributions to international society based on international exchange in education and research and on achievements in research, as well as in improving the university's international recognition in education and research. As a university-wide organization the Office of International Initiatives will work to promote internationalization within the university by carrying out duties related to the following:

  • Deciding on international strategies for education and research
  • Planning, support, guidance and methods related to the internationalization of education and research
  • Research on global trends in higher education
  • Strengthening collaboration with international institutions and with overseas universities and research institutions
  • International joint research networks
  • International PR
  • Internationalization-related training programs for administrative staff
  • Other matters related to international activities