Opening Remarks of Junko Imanishi (Sustainable Shared Growth Seminar #20)
Good morning, おはようございます。
I am very happy to be able to come back to Manila and participate in this Shared-Growth Seminar.
I am Junko Imanishi, Chief Representative of SGRA. SGRA, or Sekiguchi Global Research Association is based in the town called Sekiguchi in Tokyo. SGRA was born from the Atsumi International Foundation, which provides scholarships to Ph.D. candidates who are studying in graduate schools in Japan. It is a family foundation and is aiming to build a network of scholars who have studied in Japan. In fact, SGRA is the research network of the former scholars of Atsumi International Foundation. It was established 21 years ago and now the network has been grown to more than 200 scholars around the world. The instigator and also the coordinator of today’s Seminar, Dr. Max Maquito were in fact one of the 11 scholars in the first year of the establishment.
The first Japan-Philippines Shared-Growth Seminar was held at the University of Asia and the Pacific, in Manila, on March 26th, 2004. The title of the Seminar was “Aiming for Shared Growth” with the sub-title of “Enhancing Efficiency and Equity through Japanese Companies in Special Economic Zones.” I think that it is the passion of Dr. Maquito that led the achievement of this Seminar series for 20 times in 12 years.
In 2010 and 2011, there was the academic exchange program organized by Dr. Weijun Gao, Professor of the University of Kitakyushu, who was another Atsumi scholar of the first batch. And a group of scholars in architecture and engineering from the universities in Manila were invited. During this exchange program, we agreed to co-host forums in Tateshina in 2010, and in Tokyo in 2011.
I think that the Shared-Growth Seminar changed after these two forums in Japan. The planning committee was established and many people became involved in organizing the Seminar. As a result, the scale of the Seminar became bigger. I remember that I happily received the report of the 16th Shared-Growth Seminar that was held on August 23rd, 2013, at the University of the Philippines with 220 participants. The theme of this Seminar was “the Urban Rural Gap & Sustainable Shared Growth”. The reason for the big success must have been thanks to the teamwork of scholars involved, many of them must be attending this Seminar today.
Thus, I would like to thank all of you who have been helping the Shared-Growth Seminars, for as many as 20 times. I also would like to add my appreciation for participating in the Asia Future Conference, our by-annual symposium that we hosted in Bangkok in 2013 and in Bali in 2014. I would like to thank you because we always had the biggest delegation from the Philippines in those past two Conferences. The Third Asia Future Conference will be held in October this year, in Kitakyushu, Japan, so I look forward to welcoming many of you there again.
Congratulations Maquito San, for the 20th Shared Growth Seminar. We say in Japanese 継続は力なり or “To keep doing is powerful.” I wish you will be able to keep hosting this seminar series in the coming years.