On 6 June 2021, Prof. Bernhard Eitel (Rector of Heidelberg University) and Dr. Nagahiro Minato (President of Kyoto University) held their first common courtesy visit online.
Since the conclusion of a Memory of Understanding (MOU) in 1990, Kyoto University and Heidelberg University have developed a very close relationship, which is – in the words of Rector Eitel – “[built] on long-lasting cooperation, based on mutual trust which grew over the past 30 years.” This is visible in many joint projects and the high number of student and researcher exchanges as well as a joint degree program. The collaboration was the starting point for the foundation of HeKKSaGOn that connects top universities in Germany and Japan. The foundation of the Kyoto University European Center and the Heidelberg University Office in Kyoto is also a result of this cooperation.
In the meeting, President Minato first congratulated Rector Eitel for receiving the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star awarded by the Japanese government for his contribution to German-Japanese academic cooperation. They discussed challenges both universities face in general and specifically with the ongoing pandemic. Both concluded that it is a vital to restart the physical exchange of students and researchers to get a global view on the many challenges humankind faces as a whole. Rector Eitel and agreed that the experience of the pandemic clearly shows universities’ important roles in solving these problems by providing scientific solutions as well as giving incentives and decision-making support to policy makers and other stakeholders.
Throughout the meeting, it became obvious again and again that Kyoto University and Heidelberg University have a lot in common: They are both comprehensive research-orientated universities committed to the ideals of openness, autonomy and academic freedom. Both want to find new ways to integrate natural sciences, humanities and social. They want to improve gender equality on all level of university. Kyoto University and Heidelberg University are committed to further strengthen and develop the existing relationship working with and learning from each other.
Kyoto University European Center is proud to be part of the history of this partnership and is looking forward to contribute to its future.
Upper row (left to right):
Prof. Inagaki Kyoko (Executive Vice President for Gender Equality, International Affairs, Public Relations and External Affairs/University Fund Administration and Alumni Affairs)
Lower row (Left to right):
Prof. Jörg Pross (Vice-Rector for Research and First Vice-Rector)
Absent in this picture:
Prof. Dr. Marc-Philippe Weller, Vice-Rector for International Affairs