Launching the Global Exchange Organisation for Research and Education (GEORE)
Ichiro Arakawa

Internationalisation can be traced back to the Silk Road in ancient history. At first the process was slow, in line with the development of various transportation systems, but over the past century it has progressed rapidly. Furthermore the advances in information technology in the past decade mean that we can now access and send information around the globe almost instantaneously. This has resulted in a great acceleration of the process of internationalisation.

At university, research and educational activities are carried out simultaneously. Faculty members take on academic research with the role of educational responsibility. Students are now confronted with real academic research in the course of their pursuit of knowledge. A quarter-century ago, faculty members had few opportunities to participate in international conferences abroad. Nowadays, it is commonplace for faculty staff to take three or four times foreign business trips per year. Moreover, numerous international conferences in a variety of research fields are held each year in Japan, with many foreign scholars in attendance. Meanwhile, universities and research institutions around the world share a common interest in expanding their network of transnational collaboration. Furthermore, it was quite difficult in the past for a university student to study abroad. Nowadays, however, many students have the opportunity to study in a foreign country, whether it is on a short-term language course or a long-term degree program. The number of students who choose Japan Studies at university has increased constantly in recent years. Faculty staff and students articulate and share their ambitions to undertake international activities, creating forms of interaction which had been unimaginable hitherto. Even at a relatively small university such as Gakushuin University, the faculties, departments and institutions are active and dynamic in the area of international exchange, and constantly undertake new activities and develop new programs. However, there is a risk that these international exchange programs may all involve separate implementation plans and varying project management flow according to the processing division involved. While it is undoubtedly highly prestigious and highly beneficial for different sections of a university to partake in international research and education exchange, the downside may be a lack of organisation and transparency at administrative level.

In order to avoid such disorganisation, and to standardise and streamline current practice and promote more active academic exchange, the Global Exchange Office for Research and Education commenced operation in the autumn of 2012. Alongside the administrative reorganisation, our office entered a new phase and changed its name to “Global Exchange Organisation for Research and Education (GEORE)” in April 2014. It is rather challenging to predict the progress of “internationalisation” in the next five to ten years. However, we at Gakushuin University are committed to continuing our efforts to promote international cooperation and collaboration. We view the inauguration of GEORE as a vital step towards realising our ambitions. Whether you belong to our university or to another institution, I would greatly appreciate your support for our international exchange projects.

Ichiro Arakawa, Director of GEORE (Vice President of Gakushuin University)

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