Okayama University organized symposium around a publication on the Earth Charter as the Origin of SDGs

On September 28, 2023, Okayama University and the Earth Charter Japan Committee co-hosted a symposium titled “Toward a Symbiotic Global Society: The Inclusive World the Earth Charter Aims for” at the 50th Anniversary Hall at Okayama University, and 140 participants, including high school students, University students, and faculty, as well as local people attended.

This symposium aims to create an “inclusive world” for a new global civilization at a critical historical turning point towards a sustainable future. The event was held as part of the Okayama University UNESCO Chair Special Lecture and the Okayama Dream Education Initiative to explore the great potential of the Earth Charter, which UNESCO recommends as an ethical framework for the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

At the beginning of the event, Mme. HIRONAKA Wakako (Special Adviser to the Earth Charter Japan Committee and former Director-General of the Environment Agency) gave an opening greeting, followed by a video message from Ms. Mirian Vilela (Executive Director of the Earth Charter International Headquarters in Costa Rica).

Session I, with the theme of “The Turbulent International Society and the Earth Charter,” was moderated by Dr. TAKAHASHI Kazuo (Chairman of the Earth Charter Japan Committee) and Prof. HIRONO Ryokichi (Professor Emeritus of Seikei University) and Prof. INOMATA Tadanori (former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Costa Rica) gave broad views on the subject.

Session II, “Rapidly Deteriorating Global Environment and the Earth Charter,” welcomed Prof. SUGIMURA Miki (Sophia University) as moderator, joined by the two speakers, Kyoto University Professor Emeritus MATSUSHITA Kazuo and Earth Charter International Council member and the Okayama University Vice President, Prof. YOKOI Atsufumi.

Prof. YOKOI moderated Session III, titled “Planetary Wellbeing through Intergenerational Solidarity in Action,” and was joined by four panelists: Mme. HIRONAKA Wakako, Ms. WAKAMATSU Maya (3rd-year student at Okayama Prefectural Okayama Sozan Senior High School, and this year’s One Young World (OYW) Youth Summit Japan representative), Ms. NUNO Kokoro (3rd-year Discovery Program for Global Learners at Okayama University), and Mr. ICHIKAWA Taichi (CEO of World Road Inc., an OYW ambassador). As Mr. ICHIKAWA led a panel discussion, Ms. NUNO and Ms. WAKAMATSU shared their thoughts on current social issues and presented their dreams along with how they can implement their visions. Mme. HIRONAKA concluded the session with a strong message; “It is important for young people to think about what they can do for the earth, think about ways to convey that opinion to society, and try it.”

In the closing remarks, Dr. TAKAHASHI encouraged “the whole audience” by saying, “Through the symposium, I was strongly impressed and convinced that Okayama University can become the first university to carry the Earth Charter from Okayama to the world.”