Prof. Furuta Motoo - Rector of VNU Vietnam - Japan University
The seminar received much interest of individuals from different backgrounds, ranging from training institutions, NGOs, the media and business.
Attending the seminar were Japanese and Vietnamese leaders, scientists, businessmen; and experts and lecturers from Osaka University, Waseda University, Yokohama National University.
In his opening remarks, VJU Rector Prof. Dr. Furuta Motoo said that the university had always pursued the philosophy of "sustainable development" in training and research.
VJU’s training and research products aim to serve the overall sustainable development of the society and strengthen the relationship between Vietnam and Japan.
The Master’s programs launched in 2017 all have a common course of "Sustainability Science Basics". Therefore, the seminar on "Sustainable Development” held at the beginning of the new academic year is an academic forum for VJU students and the participants to have a better understanding of the university’s education orientation and philosophies .
Mr. Irigaki Hidetoshi, Senior Vice President of JICA also addressed the seminar, affirming JICA’s concerns over the ongoing global climate change and especially that in Vietnam - one of the most vulnerable countries to this phenomenon.
It is hoped that over the past year VJU students have gained a lot of knowledge from the lecturers sent to the university by JICA. Mr. Irigaki Hidetoshi also affirmed that the seminar was among a series of activities to promote friendship between Japan and Vietnam.
The first lecture entitled "Beyond the Limits to Growth – New Ideas for Sustainability from Japan” was delivered by Prof. Hiroshi Komiyama, President of Mitsubishi Research Institute (former President of the University of Tokyo).
In just 45 minutes, Prof. Hiroshi Komiyama had showed a peculiar optimism about the world’s sustainable future.
According to Prof. Hiroshi Komiyama, sustainability is conveyed in three aspects: the Earth, the society and the mankind; and most importantly, we are gradually approaching the saturation point in the social and human aspects.
Over the past 1,000 years, there has been an eightfold increase in the global GDP. Life expectancy in the 1900s was only 31, now up to 72. Prof. Hiroshi Komiyama stated that "the mankind is now more and more fulfilled in terms of material possession” and when material fulfillment is reached, people will demand higher quality of life in which "quality” matters more than "quantity”.
Prof. Hiroshi Komiyama
While Prof. Hiroshi Komiyama focused mainly on sustainable development based on the platinum society model, Prof. Mai Trọng Nhuận elaborated on sustainable development in the face of climate change impacts. Sustainable development can only be achieved with the stability and harmony of social, environmental and economic aspects.
In today’s fast-changing world, besides climate change and waste, socio-economic development is having ongoing impacts on the people and society. Sustainable development is only feasible when the core values are preserved: economic justice; cultural identity - peace; human security; and biodiversity. Vietnam is particularly faced with many challenges from climate change and thus, has a lot of difficulties in advancing to sustainable development.
The solutions suggested by Prof. Mai Trọng Nhuận for Vietnam achieving sustainable development include: developing human resources with broad vision and innovation; establishing a smart system to adapt to climate change; learning from adaptive models of Japan; realizing institutional changes; and encouraging social innovation on the basis of technological application.
To close the seminar, VJU Rector Furuta Motoo remarked, “The lecture by Prof. Hiroshi Komiyama has spotted the misperception of giving economic development a top priority to the detriment of the environment. For the lecture by Prof. Mai Trọng Nhuận, it clearly reflected the real situation of Vietnam and particularly emphasized higher education on sustainable development.