President Nagahiro Minato Attends the 9th HeKKSaGOn Japanese-German University Presidents’ Conference (Sep. 21–22, 2023)

A delegation from Kyoto University attended the 9th Japanese-German University Presidents’ Conference of the HeKKSaGOn network, which was held at the University of Göttingen on September 21–22, 2023. The delegation was headed by President Nagahiro Minato and Deputy Executive Vice-President Mika Yokoyama (director of the European Center). Approximately 120 people from the six member universities of the HeKKSaGOn German-Japanese university consortium participated in the conference, which focused on the theme of “What Opportunities and Challenges does Artificial Intelligence offer to the Higher Education Sector?” The HeKKSaGOn Presidents’ Conference is held once every two years. The discussions this time focused on priority areas for the network’s activities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the format and role of the Presidents’ Conference, and the role that universities should play as AI becomes increasingly widespread.

The first day of the conference was opened with a welcome address from President Metin Tolan of the University of Göttingen, followed by addresses by H.E. Mr. Hidenao Yanagi, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Embassy of Japan in Germany, Prof. Dr. Masahiko Hayashi, director of the JSPS Bonn Center, and Dr. Holger Finken of the German Academic Exchange Service. The assembled presidents and vice-presidents then delivered presentations, which were followed by a panel discussion on the member universities’ HeKKSaGOn and AI-related activities.

Throughout the two days of the conference, a meeting of the presidents and vice-presidents of the six member universities was held and meetings of the network’s research working groups were held in parallel. During the presidents’ meeting, the presidents and vice-presidents discussed the future plans for HeKKSaGOn and the next call for proposal of working groups, which is scheduled for 2024. The conclusions of the meeting were compiled into a Joint Statement. On the second day of conference, a plenary meeting was held, which included presentations from each research working group and a report of the presidents’ conference, which was followed by a ceremony for the signing of the Joint Statement.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that emerged in 2020, the previous HeKKSaGOn Presidents’ Conference in 2021 was held online. The latest conference, therefore, represented a welcome opportunity for the presidents and other delegates to meet in person for the first time in four years. The next Presidents’ Conference is scheduled to be held at Osaka University in 2025.


Photos taken by University of Göttingen / Photographer Peter Heller