Meio University - From Okinawa to the World

Message from the PresidentAbout

President of Meio University
Masanori Sunagawa,MD,P.D

Boldly Leaping into the Future

 Meio University was established in 1994 as a publicly owned private university with funding from 12 cities, towns, and villages in the north of Okinawa Island and Okinawa Prefecture. In 2010, it was reborn as a public university. It was given the name " Meio," which means "famous cherry blossoms," because of its location in an area famous for its cherry blossoms, which are the earliest blooming in Japan (blooming in late January of each year). Our campus is surrounded by the rich natural environ-ment of the verdant Yambaru region that extends across northern Okinawa Island. In 2016, Yambaru National Park, Japanʼs 33rd national park, was established. Roughly half of the students at our university come from outside Okinawa Prefecture, hailing from everywhere from Hokkaido in the north to Ishigaki Island in the south, and as they study together, they spur each other on to new heights. Many international students also study at our university, and our campus is both multilingual and multicultural. It is the perfect place to take on new challenges in areas such as academia, cultural exchange , and even outdoor sports.

Our founding principles, mission, and objectives
 Meio University is founded in the spirit of loving peace, honoring freedom, and cultivating experts as well as educated, internationally minded persons who can contribute to the welfare and progress of mankind. Our founding principles were created through discussions between our first President, Yasuharu Agarie, and Shuzen Hokama (formerly Director of the Hosei University Institute for Okinawan Studies and one of the founders of our university). Dr. Hokama proposed the principles of " Freedom and Peace," and Dr. Agarie, who had experienced the cruelty of war himself, placed " Peace" before them. The inclusion of "Peace" in the founding principles was of particular significance for an Okinawan university. Our universityʼs mission is to carry on and develop the universal values of humanity and to contribute to the creation of new value. Our universityʼs symbol, which consists of five cherry blossom petals, represents the universal human values of truth, goodness, beauty, sacredness, and health. The highest value of a university is research. For a university, research is the function for thinking. Universities around the world stand on the forefronts of newly created knowledge. They are collectives who strive to extend those cutting edges. University professors are also researchers, and they work every day to create new knowledge in their fields of expertise. The fruits of their research are leveraged in the educations at the hearts of studentsʼ lives.

A liberal arts education that sets the heart free
 Our society is growing more and more complex due to rapid advances in technologies such as IT and the increasing globalization of societal activity, including the movement of people. In these unpredictable times, it is vital to have the ability to continue to learn on oneʼs own. At our university, students set their own educational goals and, through proactive study and appropri-ate self-evaluation, they deepen their own studies and become scholars capable of achieving their own academic objectives. We use numerous means to achieve this.
 One of the distinctive features of Meio University is its liberal arts education. The liberal arts are an academic framework that grew from seven arts -- the trivium, which consisted of grammar, rhetoric, and logic, and the quadrivium, which consisted of geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and music. These were the academic fields believed necessary for a free person. Freedom, here, does not refer to something granted by others, but the ability to use language correctly, participate in debate, and become free from untruths. In Japanese, it is often translated as "kyoyo kyoiku," or humanities education, and included in universi-ty curricula as humanities courses. The human-ities courses offered by Meio University are based on freedom of thought, and emphasis is placed on fundamental abilities such as critical reading abilities, critical thinking abilities, and logical thinking and decision-making abilities that students refine from when they matriculate and continue to develop on their own throughout their lives, as well as the specialized fundamental education and specialized education that is built on this foundation.

Peer support and peer tutoring,by students, for students
 Student peer support groups (WelNavi and S-CUBE) support students as they create spaces for themselves and build relationships with others. They coordinate with advising teachers and supervisory staff in providing new student support and job placement and career development support. From when they enter the university to when they leave, students value their peer community, including both their seniors and their juniors, and assist each other.
 Furthermore, we provide learning support to ensure that students continue to advance and never stop learning through (1) our Writing Center, which nurtures studentsʼ Japanese writing abilities (2) our Mathematical Sciences Learning Center, which nurtures studentsʼ mathematical reasoning and analysis capabilities, (3) our Language Learning Center, which nurtures studentsʼ abilities to commu-nicate in foreign languages, and (4) our ICT Learning Support Center, which nurtures studentsʼ basic and universal information utilization abilities. These four centers are located in SAKURAUM, our student hall. We are one of the few universities in Japan with learning support centers in four different fields. Our tutors, graduate students and undergraduate students that have undergone training provided by center faculty members, provide peer tutoring to all students, coordinated with the lectures given in regular classes.

Developing people who can thrive in international society
 One of the goals of our university is to develop people who can thrive in international society. As of March 2020, we have international academic exchange programs with 44 universities in 18 countries and regions, such as in the U.S., Latin America, and Asia. Through them, we actively engage in international exchange. With our study abroad program, students can study at overseas partner universities for up to one year while maintaining their status as Meio University students. Every year roughly 60 students take part in long-term study abroad, and we are ranked tenth among national public universities in number of overseas exchange students. We also make active use of the summer vacation period for one-week overseas study tours for interested first and second year students (China and Singapore courses), two week overseas internships (in countries such as Taiwan, South Korea, and Malaysia), which are counted as practical subjects in our Faculty of International Studies, Tourism Industry major, and roughly two-week onsite training sessions (overseas, in other Japanese prefectures, and within Okinawa) for third year students and beyond in the Faculty of International Studies majoring in International Culture. These invaluable experiences serve as driving forces of study at our university, cultivating a sense of exploration and cooperative strengths.

Extracurricular activities and regional volunteering
 One of the notable features of our university is the extensiveness of our extracurricular activities and regional volunteering, which provide experienc-es outside the classroom. For example, these include language support for foreign tourists from around the world and health checks for community members, conducted in morning markets (leverag-ing people). Yambaru is the perfect place to take on new challenges in areas such as academia and outdoor sports (leveraging the tangible world). Our students engage in distinctive extracurricular activities both on and off campus. For example, Meio Eisa team is known for its impressive performance of the "eisa", which is a traditional Okinawan dance held during the lunar calendar Bon Festival period. Not only is the Meio Eisa performed during the Bon Festival period in local Nago City, and the Eisa Festival held in Osakaʼs Taisho Ward, but it has also been included in one of the Japan Foundationʼs China Center programs as a university student interchange project, and our students have travelled from Japan to Chengdu, China to introduce Okinawan culture, such as the eisa and Okinawan cuisine (leveraging experiences). Through these activities, participants have made many new friends and keen observations, broadening their horizons and growing as people. These invaluable regional experiences serve as driving forces of study at our university, cultivating a sense of exploration and cooperative strengths.

An influential university education
 While in our university, students broaden their horizons and grow as people by speaking with many teachers, making many new friends, and engaging in keen observation. In his speech upon being appointed rector of the Catholic University of Ireland, theologian John Henry Newman said these words. "I say then, that the personal influence of the teacher is able in some sort to dispense with an academical system, but that the system cannot in any sort dispense with personal influence. With influence there is life, without it there is none." We are now in an age in which communication technologies and artificial intelligence are becoming even more widely used, and all kinds of knowledge (information) are available via the internet. It is precisely now that there is a great need for the influence of universi-ties. Meio University will continue to nurture people who thrive in international society through our influential university education.

Profile

Born in Miyakojima City (formerly Hirara City). 2014 Served as lecturer the Medical Education Planning Office at University of the Ryukyus, Faculty of Medicine. 2015 Professor, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Human Health Sciences, Meio University. 2017 Dean of Faculty of Human Health Sciences, Meio University. 2020 Appointed to 6th President.
Field of specialization: Circulatory physiology and ion channel studies

1992 Graduated from University of the Ryukyus, Faculty of Medicine, School of Medicine (MD)
1996 Graduated from University of the Ryukyus, Graduate School of Medicine, Unit of Physiological Science
1996-2000 Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Visiting scientist Council member in the Physiological Society of Japan, Japanese Society of Pathophysiology, and Japanese Society of Clinical Physiology

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