Hitotsubashi Students Participate in the U7+ Student Challenge Project

The U7+ Student Challenge, a project organized by the U7+ Alliance of Universities Worldwide, was held at the University of Ottawa from May 24 to 26, 2023. In this project, Hitotsubashi University was represented by four students, with one participating online, along with Professor Maiko Ichihara, Assistant Vice President for International Affairs.


The U7+ is an alliance of the world’s leading universities, which was established in conjunction with the 2019 G7 Summit in France. As of March 2023, 51 universities from 19 countries are affiliated with U7+. The term “U7+” refers to universities in the G7 countries and those in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Oceania, and other regions. There are four participating universities from Japan—Hitotsubashi University, Osaka University, Keio University, and the University of Tokyo. In March 2023, the fifth U7+ Presidential Summit convened at Keio University, where President Satoshi Nakano from Hitotsubashi University attended the meeting.


The U7+ Student Challenge is a collaborative project in which students from the U7+ Alliance universities work together to research and propose solutions for local issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year, approximately 40 students from 8 universities in 7 countries participated (including online participation). The participating universities are Ashesi University (Ghana), École Polytechnique (France), Hitotsubashi University (Japan), IIT Bombay (India), Northwestern University (United States), University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, and Institut National Polytechnique Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Côte d’Ivoire).


Under the mentorship of a faculty professor, the participants presented solutions that encompassed economic, environmental, and social development, addressing specific issues within their communities. In the previous year, students tackled the United Nations SDGs by leveraging technology and adopting a multidisciplinary approach. Furthermore, they demonstrated their ability to create a significant impact on multiple stakeholders. This year’s event followed the same guidelines but with a central theme of sustainable mobility.


To enhance access to higher education for refugee students in the Asia–Pacific region, the team from Hitotsubashi University proposed an advocacy platform involving actors from both the public and private sectors. Their vision includes utilizing blockchain technologies to establish a network that connects universities, professors, non-governmental organizations, and other organizations that foster skill development, thereby facilitating higher levels of post-secondary education and a more inclusive and peaceful society. Although most of the participants are natural science majors, the HU Team contributed to the discussions by offering proposals from a social science perspective.


Hitotsubashi University intends to leverage the U7+ Alliance network for strengthening international collaboration. As a proud member of the U7+ Alliance, we recognize the crucial role universities play in the world and aspire to contribute to resolving regional and global issues.



Photo1: U7+ Student Challenge Workshop



Photo2: Assistant Vice President Maiko Ichihara, left, and student participants from Hitotsubashi University



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