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東京大学公共政策大学院 | GraSPP / Graduate School of Public Policy | The university of Tokyo

GraSPP Alumni & Students Day 2023 “An occasion to reflect and connect” December 18, 2023

Homecoming Day , Summary

About 120 GraSPPers gathered for GraSPP Alumni & Students Day 2023 on the evening of Saturday, October 21, for reflection, reunion, reconnection, and encounter.

Sandeep “San” Rajgopal, President, GraSPP Alumni Association, Class of 2015

“The Japanese-language panel allowed panelists and participants to reflect on the attractiveness of Japan’s prestigious civil service for graduates; whereas the English-language panel reflected on the unique paths into the Japanese labor market and gave non-native foreign job-seekers valuable pointers. Both panels were privileged to have a professor who cemented the fascinating anecdotal insights of alumni with academic and practical wisdom. These riveting reflections were followed by the plenary and casual networking sessions, where alumni from various classes, current students, and faculty members were able to connect among themselves. From alumni who hadn’t seen each other in years to professors re-connecting with their former students, it was truly a homecoming. For students, it was an opportunity to glimpse perhaps into their own future and to see in which capacities they might return “home” and build connections for their time after GraSPP.”

Akira Morita, Director of Events and Social Activities, GraSPP Alumni Association (Class of 2008)

“We were pleased to hold a Homecoming Day event in person again this year, just as we did last year. In the Japanese panel session, we invited four alumni and Professor Hisashi Yoshikawa as panelists under the somewhat provocative title, “Ask alumni! Is a career in government still attractive?” As we see the increasing number of mid-career hires as civil servants from the private sector, I hope that we were able to deepen the discussion candidly about the attractiveness of careers in both the public and the private sector, as well as what motivates students to pursue civil service as new graduates. In Homecoming Day 2024, which is GraSPP’s 20th anniversary, we aim to make the Japanese panel session more exciting to attract more Japanese alumni and students.”

Emily Murnane, President, GraSPP Student Council (second-year student in Master of Public Policy, International Program)

“I had the pleasure of being involved in the planning and operation of this year’s student and alumni reunion and was delighted to see more attendees than anticipated on the day. During the networking event, the venue was buzzing with the conversations and laughter of students, graduates, and professors alike. At this moment, I could feel the vitality of the GraSPP community and felt very proud to be part of it. I hope that we were able to contribute to creating an enjoyable opportunity for current students and alumni to come together and and everyone in the office who made this day possible. We created an event that will serve as a strong foundation for the GraSPP’s 20th anniversary next year, which I look forward to attending as an alumna.”

Junya Eriguchi, Vice President, GraSPP Student Council (first-year student in Master of Public Policy, International Program)

“As the vice president of the GraSPP Student Council, I was involved in the planning and operation of this reunion. We were happy that more people came than we expected on the day. During the exchange meeting, the classroom was filled with everyone’s voices, so much so that it was hard to hear the conversations, and I was able to feel the vitality of the GraSPP community. I would be happy if I could help create a valuable place for current students and seniors who have the same aspirations and studied at GraSPP to meet face-to-face. I believe that with the help of my seniors, Tatsuoka-kai seniors, teachers, and everyone in the office, who warmly responded to my request to be on stage, I was able to create a meeting that served as a good starting point for our 20th anniversary.”

Keisuke Iida, Dean of GraSPP (excerpts from Dean’s welcome remarks)

“As you know, the Graduate School of Public Policy was established in 2004, so the next year will mark its 20th anniversary. The age of adulthood was lowered to 18 years old with the revision of the Civil Code, and if we were to use a human analogy, we would say that we have finally become adults! The GraSPP has changed dramatically over the past 20 years. The most significant change is that, although there were only a few international students when the school was first established, about half of our student body now consists of international students, and we welcome students from about 30 different countries at any given time. As a result, we have become a graduate school with a very international atmosphere, as you can see from the lineup of faces this evening.”

Megumi Hashiguchi, GraSPP Alumni Desk

“Starting this year, I became in charge of this event. At first, I was confused as to how best to support on behalf of the GraSPP the collaboration between the Alumni Association and Student Council. As we continued to communicate via email, Zoom, and face-to-face, I gradually began to see the direction and issues we were faced with, and we were able to experience the fun of planning an event while building consensus among us all. On the day of the event, without concerns about the coronavirus and helped by good weather, we were happily able to meet more alumni, current students, and faculty members than I expected.”

Participants’ voices and messages

“I would be happy to help in my capacity GraSPP to flourish more.”

“Thanks for organizing – appreciate the opportunity to meet alumni and other peers!”

“The event further fosters camaraderie and knowledge-sharing among students and graduates across ethnicity, time, professional backgrounds, and age.”

“It was a great opportunity to talk to GraSPP alumni and witness the variety of careers that they thread, broadening my horizons on what’s possible!”

“Grateful for the wonderful time at the alumni meet—connecting with seniors and friends with diverse backgrounds, forging new bonds, and creating memories for life!”

“It was a great pleasure to meet many alumni members at the event, and since opportunities for socializing become limited after the pandemic, it was very nice to make new connections. Returning physically to GraSPP brings back the fresh memories of my study days, so I look forward to the Homecoming Day each year. Many thanks to those who arranged this amazing event!!”

“As a new student, I enjoyed the opportunity to hear from and mix with graduates. Hearing their recollections of life at GraSPP made me feel more inspired to make the most of my time here.”

“I left the alumni event feeling reenergized and proud to be part of the GraSPP community, which continues to foster innovation, collaboration, and lifelong connections.”

“It’s heartwarming to reunite with friends at the alumni event, reminiscing about cherished memories, celebrating our continuous growth, and expressing gratitude for the valuable opportunities offered by GraSPP!”