As our world is becoming more globalized and our society flatter, differences in culture, traditions and religions are highly valued. At the same time, these differences trigger friction among people. Understanding and respecting each other, regardless of our differences becomes an important effort to overcome this friction. In this globalized world with diversified nations, mutual understanding is the most valuable principle. With the end of the Cold War and the spread of globalization, an era, where nations cannot survive without relations with other nations has arrived. The importance of building amiable and strong diplomatic relations with as many nations as possible has increased for every nation.
Under our belief, “Relations between countries begin with relations between people,” we are of the opinion that a person who strives to understand and respect others in this diverse global society can take on the role of representing his/her own country and build amicable relationships with other countries. This is the kind of person who is needed in Japan and in other countries around the world. We believe that such a person is the “global leader” that will lead in the 21st century.
It is not the skills that are essential to becoming a global leader. The spirit of understanding and respecting each other, regardless of our differences, and an attitude to deal with problems flexibly in this rapidly changing environment are the most important elements of a global leader.
Therefore, it is impossible to create a global leader in as short period of time. This is because long-term relationships, personality development and education is vital to achieving the attitude and spirit that a global leader should possess. Therefore, we have decided to create a platform for university students who have a great possibility of becoming future global leaders. We want an international forum with university students who have the potential and the will to lead the world. The program serves as a starting line for these students where they can develop and become global leaders as well as strengthen relations with others.
We have three concepts that we value as the principles in creating such a platform. Those three concepts are, “a project that is not bilateral but carried out by multiple countries,” “a long term project that does not end with just one forum,” and “a project that puts emphasis on building relations between countries that have not had much involvement in the past.”
Involving multiple countries in the project is essential to understanding diversity, and as mentioned above, it must be long term. On top of that, as past diplomatic frameworks are changing, we believe that there is a need to strengthen relations between countries that have only had a weak or one-sided relationship through the establishment of understanding and trust.
Then, what is the meaning for the Japanese, or for Japan to take the initiative in building this international platform?
In our country, the weakening of Japan’s international presence poses a problem, and many have a pessimistic view on Japan’s future. Japanese people are said to be unsuited for diplomacy for introverted and nonassertive tendencies. Furthermore, in the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, the lack of decisiveness to send out accurate information to the world as well as the lack of leadership to lead global views and actions to create a better international society became evident. It can be said that Japan is the country which most urgently needs global leaders that represent their country and play an active role in the international society. In that sense, there is great meaning for the Japanese to lead and organize this program.
However, that is not it. Japan is a country that has led the world through its rapid economic development after the Second World War and is now first handedly experiencing a fiscal crisis and an aging society. Many of the problems that Japan has faced and is currently facing are problems that the world will face from now on. We should make the most out of the lessons that Japan has learned. Therefore, this Japan based platform has great meaning for the rest of the world as well.
We will strive to create an environment where each and every participant can develop by providing them with “Experience”, “Knowledge” and “Human Networks” through this two-week long program. We aim towards creating global leaders that are needed in each country, building international human networks and establishing connections between nations.
July 1st, 2010
Founder of Global Next Leaders Forum
(Revised January 1st 2013)