Director, International Community Center
Professor, Faculty of International Research and Education
Presently, internationalization, globalization, and diversity are everyday facts of life, and most people can sense the rapid advance of internationalization that is even happening at Waseda University. International students in classrooms are a common sight, as is faculty of foreign nationalities giving in-depth lectures in their native languages. Additionally, there are those whose nationality is Japanese, but who are native speakers of another language. Conversely, there are those whose nationality is not Japanese, yet they were born and raised in Japan and are native speakers of Japanese. In school departments and other offices, foreign nationals are taking much larger roles.
Waseda University is community composed of nearly 60,000 students, faculty, and staff who have such diversity. However, simply gathering individuals of diverse cultural backgrounds does not guarantee that they will naturally move well together as depicted in the Waseda school song: “From east and west, from age to age, All tides of civilization, In one huge whirlpool ever surge.” There was once a director who stated that the audience members gathered in a theater before a play starts are "Self-contained fragments with no natural flow going between them," and made the comparison that "each one of them is like a car rushing along a highway." However, through their shared experience at the theater, the previously disconnected audience members become as one. "An amphitheater has only one virtue, it brings people together."
In the community that is a university, there is also a shared experience through which what takes place in a theatre can occur on a much grander scale. A poem by the 17th century English poet John Donne famously states, "No man is an Island." The metaphor is that people do not exist alone as solitary islands in the world but rather they live their lives interconnected with each other. As is written in the poem, "every man is a piece of the continent." It is our hope that the International Community Center will create more opportunities for the diverse individuals making up the university (who at a glance appear as separate islands) to become like one continent, respecting each other’s diversity while deepening their exchange. Furthermore, the Waseda community itself is not a solitary island; it is a part of the world and connected to its movements.
Most of the ICC's activities are carried out by the ICC staff and student staff leaders, with volunteer supporters providing assistance and ideas as well. By all means, at least once, come visit the ICC lounge located in Building 7, next to the bronze statue of school founder Okuma Shigenobu. The ICC information board lists useful information and interesting activities that you are highly encouraged to join. If there are other events that you would like the ICC to do, then please give us your suggestions. All of the ICC staff will be waiting for you in the lounge.