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Relations between the Americas and Kobe University date back to the Meiji Era, when the Kobe Higher Commercial School was established. The presence of American-born Professor Emeritus Roy Smith was of particular significance. Since he first came to Japan in 1909, excluding the wartime period he devoted over 50 years to teaching at Kobe University until 1968. It can be said that at the latest the Americas and Kobe University had already established a partnership when Professor Emeritus Roy Smith took up employment in Japan, and therefore the history of this connection dates back over one hundred years. The University also has a strong tradition in every department of encouraging young researchers to pursue opportunities abroad to study or conduct research. Many of our young researchers have been abroad to enrich their academic and research experience. The returnees advanced in their careers to become mid-level and upper-level researchers, and went on to encourage the next generation of researchers to travel abroad as part of their higher educational experiences. This cycle has been repeated over and over.

However, these inbound and outbound international exchanges were mainly based on connections between individuals or on the division and departmental level. Thus, continuation of the exchanges tended to depend on the faculty leaders who managed and coordinated the programs and projects, and these programs faced an uncertain future after the leaders retired. The Office of the Americas aims to develop a support system to promote more effective, cross-disciplinary and sustainable international exchanges by sharing useful information and other resources within the university. In particular, we will work to the best of our abilities to provide fast and accurate information about study abroad-related financial aid and safety considerations overseas.

“Students are the most privileged group of society. I would like you to remember that your school days are filled with learning opportunities”. This phrase is not taken from a recent speech for students at a University ceremony, but Professor Emeritus Roy Smith’s actual words encouraging his students in 1953. Kobe University has been promoting international student and faculty exchange as a means of encouraging University members to realize their individual potentials for over a century. A number of students and faculty members have accomplished their dreams of international exchange. The Office of the Americas will help students and faculty members to pursue their academic dreams and transform them into reality. We appreciate your continuing support.

SHIMOMURA Ken-Ichi
Director, Office of the Americas

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