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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

2023年度秋の学位授与式を執り行いました 2023年10月02日(月)

概要報告 , 式典

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The GraSPP Autumn diploma presentation ceremony AY2023 took place on Friday, September 22 at SMBC Academia Hall in the International Academic Research Building.
63 students have conferred the diploma this September.

The diploma was presented by the Dean of the Graduate School of Public Policy who congratulated them for their completion of the program together with the GraSPP staff.

The commendation ceremony for high-achieving graduates was also held. The Best Performance Award was presented to one student in the PhD program and one in the Master’s program respectively.

Dean’s message to graduate students

Congratulations on graduating today.

This month we are pleased to graduate sixty-three students, including fourteen double-degree students, and two students from the doctoral program.

The pandemic is finally over, and I am glad that not only you but some of your family members could be with you in the Yasuda Auditorium this morning. For the sake of those who cannot be physically here, we are broadcasting this ceremony online so that they can watch what is going on. I am sure that your family members are very proud of you.

When I gave this address to the graduating class last year, I called them the “COVID generation” because the entire period of their enrollment at GraSPP, Tokyo was under COVID-related restrictions.

Along these lines, I must call you a “half-COVID, half-post-COVID” class. Most of you, except those in the Ph.D. program, entered GraSPP in the fall of 2021. Even though most other countries were already climbing out of COVID, Japan was not out of the woods yet at that time, and Japan was late in getting rid of the preventative measures.

Indeed, because the omicron variant of COVID spread rapidly in 2021, Japan completely shut down its borders to foreigners from the end of November 2021 through the end of February 2022. Tokyo was under a semi-state of emergency for 60 days at the beginning of 2022. In other words, during the first year of your affiliation with GraSPP, you were under some restrictions.

After all, it was only on May 8 of this year that the government downgraded COVID to the same level as the seasonal influenza, and in that connection, all the public health restrictions have been lifted. It was only this year that most of our classes began to meet entirely in person. I suppose that your experience in the second year was much more fulfilling than the first.

I must tell you that you are also a “geopolitical generation” because last year, Russia invaded Ukraine and world politics became much more volatile than before. For some time, we were under the impression that interstate warfare and outright invasions were things of the past, but we were wrong. Wars are still with us, and we must cope with all the consequences.

If you are an economist, you may be wondering what has happened to free trade. Western countries are trying to reduce trade interdependence in the name of “de-risking” and “friend-shoring.” Now free trade has become the exception rather than the rule.

So, we live at a point in time with a lot of policy challenges. I am not sure if we could provide all the right answers to these problems during the two years of your stay here. Indeed, scholars are also divided on what to do. But at least we have a lot of food for thought, for sure.

We have a favor to ask of you. Please do remember us. The University of Tokyo is not known for strong patriotism; We don’t have a lot of alumni who love the school to the bitter end.

Now that international travel is easier, you will be able to come back to Japan anytime, and we will be happy to see you again. UTokyo has Home Coming Day every October. Please take advantage of that opportunity to see your old friends and meet new ones.

Once again, congratulations.


September 22, 2023

Keisuke Iida, Dean

Graduate School of Public Policy, the University of Tokyo