Ritsumeikan Keisho’s high school identity (SI) embraces the formation of world-class 18-year-olds. In a world where globalization is rapidly picking up speed, people are increasingly required to have a perspective of multicultural coexistence. Simultaneously, the specific attributes expected of people who play active roles in a global society (namely, what kind of people are global leaders) have been heatedly discussed. We believe global leaders to be people who “empathize” with those in other cultures by understanding mutual differences and accepting and respecting each other. Global leaders should also be able to “create” something new to solve global issues by transcending differences in language, culture, religion and lifestyle. Based on this belief, the Ritsumeikan Keisho SGH program is aimed at fostering the empathic and creative minds required of global leaders to form world-class 18-year-olds through its research and development projects.
Global leaders are required to collaborate with people from diverse cultural backgrounds in many countries. To foster the necessary quality, it is essential that students develop friendships and relations of mutual trust that transcend national boundaries through various opportunities for exchanges with people in other countries. Studies at Ritsumeikan Keisho SGH are aimed to develop global leaders equipped with the following six competencies and experiences.
Students in the first year consider local issues in Local Issue Studies. In the second year, they contemplate global issues in overseas training, which is provided as Overseas Cultural Studies. Based on a unified theme, students on all courses make presentations before their counterparts at overseas partner schools where they undergo training, and engage in discussions to clarify similarities and differences in opinion between them. This experience helps students develop diverse values. After the overseas training, students hold debriefing sessions and other events at school where they can share their experiences to build even more diverse values.
In the third year, all students taking humanities courses at Ritsumeikan have the challenging task of thoroughly investigating global issues. Three special courses (on tourism development, the international community and Asian studies) allow students to study and engage in research and other activities with people from different cultural backgrounds.
In the first and second years, students extrapolate their experience with local issues to examine global issues. This helps them nurture the ability to communicate their thoughts to others by carefully listening to others’ opinions and understanding different viewpoints. In the third year, students focus on global issues as the culmination of their first- and second-year studies.
Research Theme: Collaborative Efforts to Achieve Multicultural Coexistence
The human resources required in the future global society cannot be developed simply by encouraging students to consider and learn about multicultural coexistence one-sidedly. They should experience multicultural coexistence through activities in which they think and learn together with people of non-Japanese cultures, and create new forms of multicultural coexistence with them. Against such a background, we aim to develop global leaders through the research projects outlined below.
Project 1: Local Issue Studies for First-year Students
In addition to improving their basic academic skills in school subjects, this project encourages students to develop 1) inquiring minds and inventive capabilities, and 2) information literacy and related skills such as information gathering. This is intended to help students realize that excelling at school subjects is a prerequisite to thrive in a global society, thereby motivating them to study all school subjects in earnest.
Project 2: Overseas Cultural Studies for Second-year Students
This project provides students with the opportunity to learn about the histories and cultures of other countries than Japan to develop global perspectives and arouse curiosity and interest in global issues. Based on a common theme of all the courses, students engage in discussions and activities with high school or university students in those countries. Through the activities and experience, students cultivate independent minds and build an attitude of collaborating with local people to solve issues.
Project 3: Special Course on Tourism Development for Liberal Arts (LA) Classes
This course consists of lectures on the fundamentals of tourism studies and fieldwork in Sakhalin, Russia or elsewhere with a local partner educational institution. Students in both institutions collaborate with each other in fieldwork involving tourism development between the two regions. They also examine if their ideas are viable as business propositions. Through the studies and activities, students learn about new fields of study (i.e., border studies and border tourism). Thus they develop a new perspective of “leveraging border locations,” become able to change the ways they think, and develop creativity and planning skills.
Project 4: Special Course on the International Community for International Relations (IR) Classes
In this course, students learn about the fundamentals of Ainu culture and the basics involved in understanding different cultures. They also examine what recommendations they can make to today’s society (concerning the social structure) based on their understanding of Ainu culture, which values harmonious coexistence with nature. Overseas training opportunities are also available in places such as Sakhalin in Russia, New Zealand and Vancouver, Canada. Through these studies and activities, students learn the history, culture and values of the Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan. This helps them get rid of the “us vs. them (i.e., Ainu)” mentality, and see Ainu people as “part of us.” Japan faces the issue of preserving and handing down Ainu culture to future generations. Students find solutions for these issues from high school students’ perspectives and send out information on the solutions. In this way they are encouraged to develop an awareness of independently weighing issues and seeking solutions.
Project 5: Special Course on Asian Studies for Justice & Business (JB) Classes
Based on lessons learned from the overseas training they undergo in the second year, students taking this course perform detailed studies of Southeast Asia, where various ethnic groups have disputes while others peacefully coexist with one another. To have an in-depth understanding of the activities to cope with social issues in Asia, the course also includes a new training program, and students and teachers work closely together to develop the content of the training program. Students undergo overseas training in northern Thailand. (Since the 2013 academic year, students in the second year have received overseas training at the YMCA Phayao Center in Phayao Province, engaging in activities in collaboration with local students.) Through the studies and activities, students not only acquire knowledge of Southeast Asia, but are also motivated to use the knowledge they have gained to independently consider solutions to problems facing Japan as well as other social issues. Students also develop a keen sense of mission and responsibility to solve such issues regardless of ethnic or national differences, and foster collaborative and other skills, which are essential for working with others.
Project 6: Plenary Project Involving All High School Students
・SGH Research Presentation Session