OIST celebrates 29 graduates at 2023 graduation ceremony
The ceremony began with a traditional Ryukyuan dance by OIST students and a sanshin performance by the OIST sanshin group, Chindami.
Then Acting President of OIST, Dr. Albrecht Wagner, welcomed all and congratulated the graduates. “Today, you can look back and state with pride that you have successfully crossed a major threshold in life and towards an exciting future,” he said.
He noted that 27% of non-Japanese students who have graduated from OIST decided to remain and work in Japan. “This is a strong message for those who funded your studies. By investing in OIST they have invested in the future of Japan.”
The Vice Governor of Okinawa Prefecture, Mr. Yoshimi Teruya, read a message on behalf of Mr. Denny Tamaki, Governor of Okinawa Prefecture, who expressed his hope that the graduates use their experiences at OIST to contribute to sustainable development. “You have come to Okinawa from different backgrounds and from all over the world to expand your knowledge here at OIST. We hope that your experiences in Okinawa, including your interactions with the local people, will be a cornerstone of your life."
A representative of the Cabinet Office Government of Japan, Parliamentary Vice Minister Ms. Hanako Jimi, addressed the audience via video call. “I am impressed OIST is now becoming the best in the world, and all of you are qualified to be a permanent member of the best in the world from now on,” she stated.
The Commencement Speech was given by President of OIST, Dr. Karin Markides, who encouraged the graduates to observe and listen to perspectives other than their own. “Continue to observe and talk with people that are different from you and mobilize the transformative power you find in the intersection between knowledge areas,” she said. “You perform best when you are true to yourself, so find out what your personal preferences are.”
Prof. Thomas Busch, Dean of the Graduate School, presided over the presentation of degrees and thanked the graduates for spending some of their most productive and creative years at OIST. “You tried new things, you found new ways of doing things and you succeeded,” he stated. “Thank you very much for being part of OIST’s story. We will be eagerly watching whatever is next for you.”
The Peter Gruss Doctoral Dissertation Excellence Award for 2023 was presented to Dr. Agneesh Barua, who conducted research in the Marine Eco-Evo-Devo Unit, for his thesis titled “The Evolutionary Genetics of Venoms: How Nature Created the Perfect Chemical Weapon”. “The nature of the OIST PhD program, with its intense interdisciplinary focus, taught me the importance to engage in debate and discussion, and not to shy away from challenging the status quo, but rather to embrace the exchange of ideas as a catalyst for growth and progress,” he said.
OIST looks forward to building a network of alumni and hearing about their future endeavors.
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