2003iEARNTOPJapanese /English                           Japanese / English

2003 iEARN International Conference and Youth Summit               July 21, 2003

Awaji Yumebutai International Conference Center


                                                                                      Kazuo Hiramatsu
Kwansei Gakuin University

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. It is a great pleasure to welcome you all to Japan , especially to Hyogo Prefecture .  

On behalf of Kwansei Gakuin University , I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you who participated from all over the world to the 10th iEARN International Conference and the Youth Summit. Let me mention a few words about how Kwansei Gakuin University has committed to this conference.  

Kwansei Gakuin was established in 1889. Throughout its history of 114 years, Kwansei Gakuin realized and emphasized the importance of international exchange and understanding. When the plan of this conference was brought to us, we naturally thought that we should support the activities of iEARN, and decided to offer the conference sites, human resources and a bit of financial support.  

During the planning stage, we proposed to offer our Kobe-Sanda Campus and Seminar-House as the conference site. Although the conference site had to be changed due to the social and political influence of SARS, we never lost the enthusiasm during the last one year to prepare for the conference together with JEARN. We even sent our staffs to Moscow last year to learn how to operate the conference.  

The operation of the Youth Summit will be supported by 30 leaders. They are mainly the student volunteers from our School of Policy Studies . They spent a year to prepare for the program through discussions via e-mail with American students of iEARN-USA. I believe that the Youth Summit will be a wonderful and an enjoyable one for all the young participants.

Students of Kwansei Gakuin Senior High School also joined one the iEARN programs, " Dream School ". They proposed a plan to make presentations by predicting the final result of world-famous Harry Potter. In May this year, six schools from four countries were linked by the television conference system, and each school made its own presentation by songs, dances and plays. It was very successful and provided a good opportunity of international exchange. The next morning, Japanese newspapers reported about this trial with pictures as a big event.  

After this opening ceremony, Kwansei Gakuin University serves to manage an international symposium with JEARN. I expect that the productive and interesting discussions will be made under the title of "Let's link classrooms around the world - expanding the opportunity for international exchange education with ICT". This symposium will be televised on August 9 by NHK, a nation-wide television network. Beside that, Professor Mikio Tajima will serve as one of the keynote speakers.  

Our faculty member and students will appear at a concurrent session. Professor Yoshio Hata and his students will make a presentation on "KG Broadband Station". It is the site of scientific education movie program for the broadband. Another group of students will participate as volunteers to support the conference, although this is time for their school examinations. I partly worry whether they can successfully pass the exams.  

In addition, Kwansei Gakuin University donated one million yen to JEARN as "Kwansei Gakuin Scholarship" to financially support some participants from developing areas.  

Once again, let me extend my sincere thanks and respects to all the educators and children who participated to this conference. I do hope that you will enjoy this conference, share the invaluable experiences, and strengthen mutual understanding and friendship.  

My last, but not least, appreciation goes to those from iEARN, JEARN, Hyogo Prefecture and all the sponsoring groups. Without their enthusiasm and dedicated works, this conference was never possible.  

Thank you very much.