Speech Transcripts

April 6, 2021
Video Message for Opening Event "Japanese Modernization Lecture Series / JICA Chair" at E-JUST in Egypt.

JICA HQ, Tokyo, Japan

Your Excellencies, E-JUST Board of Trustees and the President, the Ambassador of Japan to Egypt, distinguished speakers and participants, It is my great pleasure to join you at this important opening event.

First, thank you to everyone who has worked to realize the JICA Program for Japanese Studies, or JICA Chair in Egypt.

I am very glad that E-JUST is participating in JICA Chair. My hope is that E-JUST becomes a central hub that introduces Japan's history of modernization and post-war recovery to Egypt's society and academia.

I would also like to express special thanks to E-JUST President Gohary. Based on his experiences in Japan as a JICA knowledge co-creation program participant, he linked and strengthened the relationship between Egyptian and Japanese academia. I believe that his contribution will bring further development to Egypt's higher education.

Throughout history, Egypt and Japan have enjoyed a long-lasting friendship. Dating back to the 1860s, several samurai people came to Egypt to go to Europe.

Here is a famous photo from 1864. This picture shows one of these missions posing in front of the Great Sphinx of Giza.

In Egypt, the samurai were impressed with the great ancient Egyptian civilization and also had sympathy for the Egyptian people who were being subjected to European imperialism.

To date, Egypt remains a very important country in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as across the world. Therefore, strong cooperation between Egypt and Japan contributes to the international community.

JICA has long viewed Egypt as an important partner, and we have built a strong relationship over decades. Our partnership began with a technical cooperation project in 1954, followed by an ODA loan to expand the Suez Canal in the 1970s. Since then, we have also worked together in the transportation, energy, health, agriculture, education, and cultural sectors. Our flagship projects include the Al-Salam Bridge, the Abul Reesh Hospital, the Cairo Opera House, and the Grand Egyptian Museum.

I've also had the pleasure to meet His Excellency President El-Sisi three times. I was very impressed with his commitment to human resource development and especially his profound interest in Japanese-style education.

Thanks to the support by His Excellency, the government of Egypt and Japan were able to jointly establish EJEP, the Egypt-Japan Education Partnership, in 2016. Now, under His Excellency's leadership, EJEP is being implemented to empower Egyptian youth, as the new generation leading Egypt's future. The partnership includes activities to nurture self-motivation, relationship-building skills and discipline within Egyptian youth, while building on Japan's educational best practices.

Regarding E-JUST, I am happy that many Egyptian political leaders have actively supported the initiative. His Excellency himself visited E-JUST to inaugurate the new campus in September 2020. And, he complimented it as a genuine model of cooperation based on trust and mutual understanding. We can be proud that E-JUST is now recognized as a leading university in Egypt, as well as across the Middle East and North Africa.

Now, let me introduce how we came to develop the JICA Chair program, as well as its intent.

As I mentioned, Japan's modernization began around 150 years ago. Japan has since become the first, and one of the best examples, of a country that modernized through a non-Western approach. Throughout Japan's modernization process, Japan did not lose its traditions and identity. Therefore, I think various aspects of Japan's experience can be shared with developing countries today.

After World War II, Japan achieved rapid economic reconstruction with the support of the international community and the free trade system. Ever since, Japan has worked hard to strengthen its relationship with neighboring East and Southeast Asian countries through Japanese ODA. As a result, Asian countries have now achieved surprising levels of economic and political growth, called the "East Asian Miracle." Based on these experiences, Japan continues to actively extend its ODA to contribute to the development of other regions around the world.

By sharing these experiences and lessons learned from our own development and cooperation with partner countries, I believe Japan can serve as a leader in development studies and contribute to global sustainable development efforts.

In this context, in 2018, in partnership with various universities in Japan, JICA launched the JICA Development Studies Program. This program provides young leaders with an opportunity to learn at graduate schools in Japan and immerse themselves into Japan's development experience. The Japanese Modernization Lecture Series, which we are unveiling today, was created in 2019 as a part of this program. Additionally, to further provide opportunities to learn about Japan's development experience in partner countries, JICA launched JICA Chair. We are planning to establish JICA Chair in around 100 countries in collaboration with those countries' leading universities.

President El-Sisi showed a lot of interest in learning about Japan's experiences and traditions.

Therefore, I am very happy to launch Africa's first JICA Chair program here in Egypt. It is not too much exaggeration to say that samurai's encounter with Sphinx was the very starting point of Japanese determination to modernize Japan.

JICA's vision is "Leading the World with Trust." We believe forging trust between countries is more critical than ever before. With trust at the core of our cooperation, JICA implements its programs with partner countries under the basis of mutual understanding and respect - not from an unequal standing of "aid" or "assistance." By so doing, we hope to establish a free, peaceful and prosperous world where people can dream of a better future and realize their diverse potential.

Through this initiative, I hope Egypt will benefit from learning about Japan's modernization history and our approach to development cooperation. I hope that will contribute to the development of Egypt. In addition, I hope JICA Chair participants will reflect upon Japan's experiences and share their understanding of Japan with others to strengthen trust between our two countries. Since various Egyptian universities and institutions have been actively engaged in Japan Studies, It would be nice if JICA can collaborate with these organizations through JICA Chair at E-JUST.

In conclusion, I would like to once again extend my appreciation to the E-JUST Board of Trustees, Excellencies, Ministers, and government officials.

Thank you for your attention. I wish you all a successful event that will lead to the increased prosperity of both of our nations.

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