Message from The Chancellor
Fr. Tsutomu Sakuma, S.J.
The Sophia Spirit for a Globally Respected University Pursuing its Unique Role
The global COVID-19 pandemic is compelling changes in university education. Sophia University has found the consequent restrictions placed on physical overseas exchanges especially hard as a university that promotes globalization. Nevertheless, not only have we provided support to our international students in Japan but we have also offered assistance overseas principally through our local offices. Having set up a business company to further invigorate its educational functions, our ASEAN Hub Center in Bangkok in particular has worked hard to keep educational programs running by shifting to full online classes last year.
The biggest change brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has been the rapid incorporation of online activities at universities around the world. For example, this has made it possible to conduct unprecedented research exchanges by inviting professors doing cutting-edge research at overseas universities to give remote lectures. Sophia University is working to systematically facilitate such opportunities.
In some respects, the global COVID-19 pandemic has leveled the functions universities around the world can offer. As a result, universities will become more conscious of their own unique roles, and the value that those roles offer the world will be scrutinized. As part of Sophia University’s Grand Layout 2.0, we advocate ourselves as a world-class university. Going forward, Sophia will be even more clearly and strongly aware of our role in the world and strive to provide the value the world expects of us as a university.
While we are committed to promoting global learning, with all the new challenges that will entail, the one thing that we will never change is Sophia’s educational spirit, Men and Women for Others, with Others, which embodies internationalism and neighborliness. In a message delivered during a visit to our University two years ago, Pope Francis said of our students, “May they . . . show themselves resolute defenders of the vulnerable.” In relation to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he also said that we should not be driven only by a desire to solve environmental problems, but also to invoke the Christian humanistic spirit to never abandon anyone. In other words, he urged us to build a world in which everyone is respected equally. In this manner, I believe Sophia’s spirit harbors very important meaning in these difficult times.
Environmental initiatives are one of the distinctive pillars of a Sophia spirit-driven education. We conduct a special cross-faculty educational program designed to help achieve a sustainable future. The problem of educational disparity is another important pillar in reference to the SDGs. Looking out on the world, we intend to invigorate human and academic exchange through our connections with local Catholic universities in Africa, which is currently experiencing multiple challenges as its population increases.
The world faces countless issues that must be solved and universities are being asked how they intend to help address these issues. Sophia University supports a form of learning that provides students with various opportunities to experience the realities of our world, to see the world as it really is, consider what they see with a gentle heart, and to build their own ideas based on that experience. We will provide you with as many beneficial study opportunities as possible even during these difficult times and we hope you will dedicate yourself to learning that is open to the world.
Chancellor of Sophia School Corporation
Professor, Faculty of Theology
Fr. Tsutomu Sakuma, S.J.
Fr. Sakuma earned a bachelor’s degree from Kyoto University, Kyoto in 1975. In 1980, he earned master’s degree in Philosophy from Sophia University. He also received Diplom Theologie Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Sankt Georgen, Frankfurt am Main in 1984 and Licentia in re Biblica Pontificio Istituto Biblico, Roma in 1988. He received a doctorate in Theology Pontifical Gregorian University, Roma in 1995.
He became an associate professor of Faculty of Theology in 1997 and was promoted to full professor in 2001. From 2011 to June 2014, he served as the President of Seibo College. He also served as the Director of Sophia School of Social Welfare from 2011 to March 2012. From October 2016 to March 2018, he served as the Trustee for General Affairs.