Sophia Magazine vol.1 / SUMMER 2015

23O: After I nished being the High Commissioner, I drafted my memoirs at the Ford Foundation in New York, which gave me the time and facilities. When I was retiring from UNHCR, several American universities offered me schol-arships for teaching and writing my memoirs. Several Eu-ropean countries invited me to give speeches and gave me decorations. And Japan, what do you think they wanted me to do? Come and give speeches. Nothing substantial like engaging in research. Just speeches! (laughs) I re-spect the Japanese preference for listening and learning but my tentative conclusion was to engage more directly in development work.U: I think today’s universities probably face different challenges. What do you expect from today’s universities?O: I have a lot of admiration for US universities. Not only for the teaching, but also research with an emphasis on thinking. There the practitioners and scholars get together at higher educational institutions. So long as this practice continues, I think the US will continue to be a leading country.U: Do you think Japanese universities also should follow suit?O: If they can. You have good teaching staff, good pro-grams and so on, but not enormous vitality.U: Institution oriented?O: Yes, Japanese people are very solid, but they don’t ght for something. The Americans ght for ideas and causes.U: If you wanted to give young people some advice, what would it be?O: Study. There is nothing like studying. Study and get much more information into your mind.U: And you can establish your own thoughts.O: Yes, for that, but don’t establish your thoughts prema-turely. There is a lot to learn. I think that’s the important thing.U: I agree. I also encourage young students to go overseas. Even for a short period, even just to study English. It’s very important for them to get out of their comfort zone. By going overseas, you begin to understand Japan in a very different way and from a much broader perspective. The younger generation actually faces much more competition, not just within Japan, but from Asia, America, Europe and all over the world.Above: Ueki was Acting and Deputy Spokesman for the UN mission in East Timor that organized the 1999 referendum which led to East Timor’s independence.Below: Explaining the electoral process to the pro-independence locals in East Timor. Ueki also served as an electoral monitor in Namibia in 1989.Getting Students out of their Comfort ZoneBorn in 1954. He has spent more than 30 years as a UN ofcer, including as spokesman for the UN’s in-spection mission searching for weapons of mass de-struction in Iraq (2002–2003). He became a Professor in the Global Studies department of Sophia Univer-sity in April 2014.YASUHIRO UEKISpecial Talk

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