Situated in the western part of Japan and comprising two faculties (the Faculty of Integrated Human Studies and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Nursing) as well as a graduate school with two distinct graduate courses, Fukuoka Prefectural University has long been a focal point for education and research and has played a pioneering role in the fields of healthcare and public welfare. In response to the challenges of the 21st century (such as Japan's rapidly aging society, advances in medical technology, and shifts in the nature of medical care), Fukuoka Prefectural University underwent a thorough process of renewal in 2006. Then as of now, our emphasis is on the nurturing of talent and the cultivation of professionals capable of meeting the aforementioned challenges, leading communities, and contributing to society at large.
In recognition of technological developments and the dynamic nature of education, Fukuoka Prefectural University has recently embraced e-learning as a means of making itself more accessible to society. As a result, the conceptual distance between teacher and student has narrowed considerably, thereby empowering the individual and revealing opportunities for self-study and self-teaching. This emphasis on individual study and exploration is complemented by the highly specialized and nationally recognized professional training programmes offered by both the Faculty of Integrated Human Studies and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Nursing. It is perhaps here that our commitment to producing the leaders and innovators of tomorrow is most apparent. Our graduates commonly go on to become, for example, exemplary social workers, mental health welfare professionals, nurses, teachers, childcare workers, and government officials.
Our location at the foot of the Hikosan mountain serves as a constant reminder of our close relationship with nature and the local community. An enduring spirit of cooperation and friendship empowers our students and encourages them to contribute, wherever and whenever possible, to the welfare of local citizens. Our students have a well-deserved reputation for being enthusiastic volunteers on a local level and also play an active role in the development of the global society. To this end, the university offers a number of exciting exchange programs and study-abroad programs, as well as linguistic training in English, Korean and Chinese.
Furthermore, and as part of our commitment to utilizing the full potential of society, Fukuoka Prefectural University has established a number of on-campus institutions designed to nurture previously untapped sources of talent. These institutions include our Life-long Welfare Research Center, the Health Promotion Education and Research Center, and the School and Child Support Center for School Refusal. At the heart of this network of philanthropic and research-based institutions is the Social Contribution and Volunteer Support Center which specializes in promoting exchange and cooperation with the local community and offering various interdisciplinary study projects.
Fukuoka Prefectural University's role in promoting the local region received worldwide recognition with the inclusion of the works of Yamamoto Sakubei, depicting Tagawa's coalmines, into UNESCO's Memory of the World Register. This accomplishment is in many ways representative of our university ethos, emphasizing as it does not only the close relationship between the university and the surrounding community but also between individuals. This, I believe, is the essence of Fukuoka Prefectural University's charm, and I will make every effort to further develop our campus and educational and research facilities so that all who come here, whether as students or citizens, will feel both privileged and glad.