Share this page

The University of Tokyo-UNIDO Joint Symposium

The University of Tokyo-UNIDO Joint Symposium

On 16 April 2018, The University of Tokyo-UNIDO Joint Symposium was held successfully, where UNIDO Director General LI Yong joined University of Tokyo President Dr. Makoto Gonokami to encourage and attract innovative thinking and solutions to address today’s global issues, as embodied in the SDGs.

At the event, Dr. Gonokami delivered the opening remarks, highlighting the need to promote an inclusive society as an upside of the 4th industrial revolution, which is reflected in Japan’s “Society 5.0” concept, and also touched upon the University of Tokyo’s “Future Society Initiative”.

Director General LI addressed the audience delivering a keynote speech focusing on the importance for the youth to play a role in shaping up an inclusive and sustainable global future. Mr. LI said that while the 4th industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, is commonly referred to these days, the future of manufacturing itself is not clearly defined, and that developing countries need to catch up with industrial changes and new technologies by working with developed countries in order to close the gap between them. He encouraged Japan’s youth to be creative, with an open mind set, and to develop an innovative culture which will help bring solutions to problems faced in the world today, and at the same time contribute to SDGs.

Ms. Kaoru Nemoto, Director of UNIC, Tokyo, emphasized in her special address that the UN welcomes everyone, especially youth and scholars, and it is up to today’s youth to be proactive and take part in UN activities, thereby helping to solve global problems. Ms. Nemoto also reminded that the SDGs are a social contract which aims to ensure that “no one is left behind”, and she invited the students in the audience to join the UN’s causes and take actions to help achieve the SDGs.

A panel session followed moderated by Prof. Taikan Oki of the UNU, and with the participation of Mr. LI, Ms. Nemoto, and Mr. Satoshi Akita, CEO of WASSHA Inc. The moderator and panelists discussed in detail how to go about to solve global problems such as lack of infrastructure, power, and limited financial resources, and how to encourage students and youth to use their wisdom in the process. SDGs encourage us to find answers to questions for which there are no simple solutions. All panelists agreed that it is most important for youth to see the reality, be innovative, and act quickly on the ground, and that a “can do” approach is indispensable.

Mr. Hideki Murakami, Deputy Head of UNIDO ITPO Tokyo gave a presentation on “Inviting young talent to UNIDO” by summarizing the benefits as well as challenges to work in a UN environment, and also by explaining his own path to work at UNIDO. Mr. Yuko Yasunaga, Head of UNIDO ITPO Tokyo, closed the session by reminding the audience, especially students, to take advantage of the rich knowledge and experience accumulated in Japan to tackle innovation and development issues.

The event attracted a total of 160 participants.

*Presentations can be downloaded by clicking the name of speakers below.

Outline of the Symposium 

Date/Time:            Monday, 16 April 2018, 10:00-12:00
Venue:                   Ito Hall, Ito International Research Center (B2F)
                              Hongo Campus, The University of Tokyo
Organizers:           The University of Tokyo;
                              United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
Supporters:           Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA);
                              Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI);
                              United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Tokyo


10:00     Opening Remarks
               Dr. Makoto Gonokami, President, The University of Tokyo

10:15     Keynote Address
“Young wisdom for the realization of the SDGs”
Mr. LI Yong, Director General, United Nations Industrial Development 
               Organization (UNIDO)

10:40     Special Address
“Your UNITED NATIONS: transforming our world through SDGs as
Ms. Kaoru Nemoto, Director, United Nations Information Centre
               (UNIC), Tokyo

11:00     Panel Discussion 
“Young Wisdom, Innovation and SDGs”
Moderated by Prof. Taikan Oki, Senior Vice-Rector, United Nations
               University; Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations

               Mr. LI Yong, Director General, UNIDO              
               Ms. Kaoru Nemoto, Director, UNIC Tokyo              
               Mr. Satoshi Akita, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), WASSHA Inc.

11:45     Presentation
“Inviting young talent to UNIDO”
Mr. Hideki Murakami, Deputy Head, UNIDO Investment and Technology
              Promotion Office Tokyo

12:00     Closing
Mr. Yuko Yasunaga, Head, UNIDO Investment and Technology Promotion 
              Office Tokyo