Introduction: Thinking about SDGs with overseas students
Kumamoto University established the Global Leader Course (GLC) in the Faculty of Letters, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Science, and Faculty of Engineering in academic year 2017. The GLC is designed to nurture global leaders, well-rounded and internationally minded individuals who can embrace diverse values with excellent expertise, creative thinking, and can understand various issues facing Japan and other countries. Global leaders should “think globally and act locally” with a bold mind looking at issues, such as UN sustainable development goals (SDGs), from various perspectives and other significant viewpoints.
As an extracurricular global education program, the GLC organizes GLC Foundation Seminars. This program aims to cultivate critical thinking, international communication skills, public relations skills, creative intelligence, and leadership. The program activities consist of various themes, including a mock parliament in which students are divided into several groups to discuss policy measures, collaborative online international learning (COIL) with partner universities overseas, special lectures given by local leaders, and students playing roles of people globally to solve problems in various fields such as disaster preparedness, regional revitalization and international cooperation.
In academic year 2021, the GLC held a joint online education program with the Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS) in Indonesia. In addition to lectures by guest speakers on national and regional initiatives related to Society 5.0 and SDGs, such as the efforts of Arao City in Kumamoto Prefecture to realize a smart city, presentation and discussion sessions were held with Indonesian students. The online event provided the GLC students together with overseas students with opportunities to examine and contemplate what the international society can contribute to realize the concept of Society 5.0, and to support the attainment of SDGs.
Through the GLC, Kumamoto University is accelerating the development of global leaders, who can think about local and global issues from multidisciplinary and global perspectives and act boldly (“Think Globally & Act Locally”).
For more information about our activities, please visit: https://www.c3.kumamoto-u.ac.jp/GLC/
Program Coordinator interview ー Achieving SDGs ー
Program Coordinator Prof. QUITAIN
What kind of impact will the joint program with overseas universities have on GLC students?
Since academic year 2020, the GLC Foundation Seminar has focused on the topics related to Society 5.0 and SDGs. In academic year 2021, we started a new program in collaboration with overseas universities.
Through online conversations and discussions in English with overseas university students and guest speakers, GLC students not only improve their English communication skills, proactive attitudes, and cooperativeness, but also learn to think about Society 5.0 and SDGs from the perspective and viewpoints of other countries. This endeavor provides an important opportunity for all students.
We will continue this collaboration with overseas universities. When the COVID-19 pandemic situation gets better, we hope to develop a hybrid program that combines online learning and exchanges with on-site fieldwork to further deepen students’ understanding of various issues.
What global issues are you aiming to solve with the comprehensive efforts at the GLC?
The realization of Society 5.0 and attainment of SDGs are important tasks that needs to be addressed in Japan and around the world. In recent years, many students have started thinking about SDGs in their primary or secondary education. Kumamoto University encourages students to deepen their understanding, and by learning to solve issues not only by focusing on individual fields such as environment and energy, but also with a global and multidisciplinary mind. By collaborating with overseas partner universities and offering a variety of study programs, the GLC Foundation Seminar aims to nurture “individuals who can think about local and global issues from global and multidisciplinary perspectives and act boldly (Think Globally & Act Locally)” to contribute to the realization of a better and sustainable world.