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On December 19, the two-day National Taiwan University-Kyoto University Symposium 2013 was officially inaugurated at the Song-Pei Lecture Hall, on the edge of the famous Luna Pond (醉月湖) on National Taiwan University’s main campus in Taipei. Building on the foundation of nearly ten years of close partnership between the two institutions, the event, with an overall participation of almost 300 scholars, did much to reveal a mutual dedication to international collaboration. This symposium was the first of its kind between NTU and Kyoto University. During the intensive two-day symposium, Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Matsumoto, Prof. Dr. Kiyoshi Yoshikawa and 90 other scholars sat with their counterparts from NTU – the robust scholarly discussions surely illuminated the grey, wintry sky. The participants from both universities came from varied backgrounds: Agriculture, Life Science, Medicine, Chemistry and Material Science, Science and Technology, Humanities, Social Sciences, University Museum, and Industrial-Academic Cooperation. This year’s symposium sets the stage for future cooperation; President Yang has already promised to visit Kyoto next September. 

After an overview of Kyoto University by Vice-President Yoshikawa and that of NTU by Prof. Dr. Luisa Shu-Ying Chang, Dean of International Affairs, the highlights of the morning were the two presidents’ plenary speeches. President Matsumoto’s speech, entitled “The Role of Universities in Promoting Innovation,” defined “innovation” from an innovative perspective. By first pointing out the seven sources of great innovations (i.e., the unexpected, incongruities, process needs, changes in the industry or in the market structure, demographic evolution, changes in public perception and new knowledge), President Matsumoto stressed that the role of the university as a leader in society lies in its dissemination of new knowledge. Interdisciplinary cooperation, especially between the different sciences and humanities, is however the golden key to innovation in the modern era. Kyoto University, President Matsumoto said, has long devoted itself to the understanding of the development of human civilizations, and to the nurturing of young talents with innovative minds.

President Yang’s speech “Shaping NTU to Meet the Global Challenges” affirmed his hope that the symposium would help NTU, while facing emerging challenges, to meet the highest global standards. NTU has become an internationally competitive academic and research institution, boasting outstanding achievements in such fields of research as basic sciences, engineering, medicine, life science and agriculture, and humanities. Meanwhile, NTU also dedicates itself to cultivating future leaders with a keen sense of social responsibility, global vision, as well as appreciation of humanities and Chinese cultural heritage. President Yang concluded by anticipating NTU to become a base for the globalization and localization (glocalization) of higher education, as well as an effective promoter of social responsibility. 

In short, both institutions share a common mission to cultivate young talents with a sense of social responsibility and world vision. The keynote speeches by the two presidents, while pointing out key challenges faced by higher education in modern times, also laid the foundation for this symposium. The opening ceremony was followed by nine parallel sessions, where bilateral academic exchanges enhanced the scholars’ recent research and opened up possibilities for future joint projects. Posters sessions, where students from both universities demonstrated their learning outcomes, also ran throughout the symposium. Besides the academic research, this symposium also included a university museum outlook and industrial-academic cooperation highlights to increase mutual sharing of experience.

The wrap-up session on December 20 was concluded with a general expectation among the attendees towards the further promotion of academic cooperation, exchange of students, young scholars, and visiting professors. Finally, Prof. Dr. Ching-Ray Chang, Vice President for Administrative Affairs of NTU, and Vice-President Kiyoshi Yoshikawa of Kyoto University, delivered their closing remarks for the symposium and reaffirmed their partnership plans, promising to meet each other in Kyoto next September.
台湾京都大学同窓会 (Kyoto University Alumni Association in Taiwan) will host a dinner banquet to welcome the delegation from Kyoto University on December 18 at 台圓好食 (Tai Yuan Hao Shi), a Taiwanese restaurant located next to the hotel where most delegates stay.

About 52 Kyoto University delegates including President Matsumoto and more than 30 alumni are expected to join the gathering.

The “National Taiwan University – Kyoto University Symposium 2013” will take place on 19-20 December at Song-Pei Lecture Hall, National Taiwan University, Taiwan. Keeping up with the rapidly advancing globalization, National Taiwan University and Kyoto University has decided to collaborate and host a joint international symposium emphasizing the importance of collaborations in the international arena to increase competitiveness. Through a great variety of parallel sessions, speeches, and workshops, this symposium will bring together internationally respected researchers from both institution with aims to promote the advancement of scholarship in the natural and social sciences.

Through a number of informal collaborations, National Taiwan University and Kyoto University established formal partnership by signing an MOU and Student Exchange agreement in 2005. Since then, the number of exchange students, collaborative research, and delegations between both universities have been consecutive with growing prosperity.    

With the strong foundation between NTU and KU, the two universities agreed to follow the precedence of the Bristol Kyoto Symposium earlier this year. The first NTU-KU Symposium will be focused on two objectives (1) creating and providing opportunities for faculty and staff from both sides to promote international research collaboration, and (2) disseminating our advanced and diversified research activities to raise the universities’ international profile.

National Taiwan University is delighted to welcome over 90 delegates from Kyoto and pleased that more than 80 will be participating from NTU including members of academic research and professional staff and even research students. The parallel sessions will cover 9 academic research fields including Agriculture, Biology, Medicine, Science & Technology, Chemistry and Material Sciences, Humanities, Social Sciences, University Museums, and Industrial Academic Cooperation.

For more details, please check out the official NTU-KU Symposium 2013 website: