Akita International University has received high marks for its international liberal arts education and it is the major trend among colleges and universities around the world to move toward such an education. Our university offers students an “international liberal arts education,” as its founding idea is to educate them to become talented world citizens able to play active roles in our global society.
The notion of “liberal arts” (kyoyo in Japanese) originated in the foundation of education in ancient Greece. Known as “artes liberales,” it refers to the arts of the education of the whole person (zenjin kyoiku) that are needed for us to become free beings.
Two thousand five hundred years have passed since then, and we may ask why the world is moving toward liberal arts higher education in general, and international liberal arts education in particular. The knowledge based global society of the 21st century seeks capable human beings with a fully developed human power of intellect, physical strength, ethics, and so forth. Thus, in order for society to bring forth human beings that embody diverse abilities and competencies needed to take an active part in our global society, we need education of the whole person in arts and sciences in that students must first liberate themselves from the values and conventions that have shaped them, and then develop a new self with international perspectives.
This is “international liberal arts education,” and our university is at the forefront of developing such an education in Japan.
Moreover, in the age of globalization, the center of the world can be wherever you are. For each person can instantly connect with seven billion people around the world through information and communication technologies. We can exchange messages by hitting the keyboard of electronic devices with the touch of a finger. Wherever one is in the world, there emerges the fundamental picture of “an individual facing the world.” Our graduates are now indeed playing active roles globally, having taken off from Akita, as this fundamental picture has suggested.
But what is one’s own individuality? Who am I? What kind of life do I wish to live? Questions never end; however, it is through the process of asking these questions, finding answers, and making efforts to realize them that one can form his/her individuality as a person. Our students establish and develop their individualities to live and work in a global society through rigorous studies, discussions with teachers and fellow students, and study abroad experiences, just like those who have already graduated from our university have accomplished.
Akita International University welcomes those who wish to fly high and take on the world.