From early on, Kobe University has recognised the crucial importance of partnership with universities and institutions in Europe. Amongst all the collaborative research conducted with overseas institutions, 40% was with those in Europe. The EU Institute in Japan, Kansai (EUIJ-Kansai), a consortium formed by three universities in the region: Kobe University, Kwansei Gakuin University and Osaka University, was established in 2005, with financial support from the European Commission. As its coordinating university, Kobe University organises a variety of programmes and events to raise awareness about the EU, its policies and aspirations among the Japanese public. In this regard, Kobe University hosted visits by His Excellency Mr Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, His Excellency Mr José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission and many other distinguished persons representing the EU.
To enhance international competitiveness in education and research, as well as to promote international mobility of students and researchers between Japan and Europe, the Kobe University Brussels European Centre was established in 2010. Kobe University has since held several international symposia and workshops in Brussels on various issues and attended by world renowned scholars and dignitaries. In an effort to further promote international and multilateral collaboration with universities and institutions in Europe, the Kobe University Research and Education Centre for Europe was established on campus to serve as the headquarters of European relations in July 2011.
Functioning of the Centre was enhanced through the reorganization of the Institute of Promoting International Collaboration Programs on 1 July 2013, where it was renamed as the Centre for EU Academic Collaboration.
The Centre for EU-Japan Collaborative Education (EJCE) was established with the aim of promoting interdisciplinary higher education in collaboration with European universities. EJCE coordinates and promotes Kobe University Programme for European Studies (KUPES), a unique degree program that enables interdisciplinary learning. EJCE also coordinates and organises the EU-JAMM, ICI-ECP double-degree project.
In 2015, Kobe University became the only Japanese institution to be named a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, an open programme of the European Commission which supports education and research centres specializing in EU studies. In July 2015 the Kobe University Brussels European Center relocated to the International Building of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, a partner of Kobe University.
In April 2016 the Institute of Promoting International Exchange Programs was reorganised and the Center for International Education Initiatives was newly established. The Program Coordination Office within the new Center is now in charge of various international education programmes that were previously overseen by the Center for EU Academic Collaboration, the Centre for EU-Japan Collaborative Education, and the EU Institute in Kansai, Japan (EUIJ-Kansai).The new Center for International Education is responsible for supporting global education programs while the Center for EU Academic Collaboration focuses on promoting international research, including international joint research projects and internationally co-authored papers.
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