Charter of the University of the Ryukyus

(Drafted May 22, 2007)

Preface

The University of the Ryukyus was established in 1950 on the remains of Shuri Castle, which was burnt to ashes in the Battle of Okinawa. Under the U.S. administration governing Okinawa, the strong desire of Okinawans for postwar reconstruction and restoration of education moved the U.S. Military Government to establish the first university in the Ryukyu Archipelago. In 1966, administration of the University was transferred to the Ryukyu Government, and with the reversion of Okinawa to Japan in 1972, the University became a national university. In 1977, the University was moved to a large new campus in the region where the three municipalities of Nishihara Town, Ginowan City, and Nakagusuku Village meet, and it became a national university corporation in 2004. Although the University of the Ryukyus has gone through a number of historic hardships, such as interference in academic freedom and the autonomy of the university during such transitions, it has made great contributions to the development of human resources in the local community and to the production of new knowledge. 

The environment in which the University exists has changed greatly since the beginning of the 21st century. The University’s role as an educational and research institution has been evolving in order to deal with a variety of issues, including the globalization of the economy and society, the rapid dissemination of information, the falling birthrate and aging population, and growing social and regional disparity; thus, radically innovative approaches to higher education are needed. National universities are entering an age of competition and rigorous evaluation that is accompanied by tough financial reforms, especially after their corporatization. The University of the Ryukyus is expected to contribute to the protection of the rich natural environment of and the sustainable development of the local community as a hub university in an island region that includes a vast marine area. Based on the principles set forth in this Charter, the University of the Ryukyus will also actively deal with future system changes through the cooperation of faculty, staff, and students, who are all constituent members of our university.

The University of the Ryukyus embraces the idea of “Nuchi du takara (Life is indeed a treasure).” It is based on the historical lessons of Okinawa and has at its root the dignity of life and the individual. It profoundly takes notice of the basic tenet of education in postwar Okinawa: “Never allow the horrors of war to happen again.” The University is located in the Ryukyu Archipelago, which possesses unique natural, cultural, and historical characteristics. Located in such a region, the University will unwaveringly continue its mission to boldly cultivate human resources who are responsible and well rounded, and who aspire to realizing world peace and improving public welfare.

Inheriting and developing the founding spirit of “Freedom and Equality, Tolerance and Peace” and proclaiming our determination to create a “university with great individuality that both maintains its regional characteristics and possesses an international outlook,” we, the faculty, staff, and students of the University hereby establish the Charter of the University of the Ryukyus as the basic standard that we will follow when taking future initiatives.

Section 1. Education

  1. (Educational Purpose and Principle)
    As a university that emphasizes education based on the principle that students are our main constituents and possess the right to learn, the educational purpose of the University of the Ryukyus is the cultivation of people who can create a society reflecting fully the spirit of “Freedom and Equality,Tolerance and Peace.” The university shall contribute to the sustainable growth of society as a whole through educational activities based on autonomy and independence.
  2. (Responsibility and Social Evaluation of Education)
    The University of the Ryukyus shall provide all people with equal educational opportunities throughout their life span and be responsible for the maintenance, reinforcement, and development of educational activities appropriate for an institution of higher education. The University of the Ryukyus shoulders a responsibility to society in its educational activities and is profoundly aware of social evaluation in line with the educational purpose and principle stated in the previous clause.
  3. (Promotion of Multicultural Exchange)
    In view of the fact that the Ryukyu Archipelago has nurtured a multifaceted culture and that a spiritually rich human nature is cultivated through diverse cultural exchanges, the University of the Ryukyus respects all of the cultures humanity has developed on this planet and will promote their exchange.

Section 2. Research

  1. (Principles of Research)
    The University of the Ryukyus respects academic freedom, and based on the fact that fundamental research and applied research are the two wheels of research activity, the inheritance, creation, and development of knowledge shall be held as our principles of research.
  2. (Regional Characteristics)
    Acknowledging the importance of fundamental research, the University of the Ryukyus aims to develop research from a diversified point of view, utilizing the regional characteristics of the Ryukyu Archipelago, which possesses a distinctive natural environment, culture, and history, and it further aims to become a world-class and distinctive research hub.
  3. (Promotion of Research Exchanges)
    Along with sharing information with the local community, the University of the Ryukyus shall promote research exchanges with domestic institutions and institutions in foreign countries, particularly in the Asian and Pacific regions, and shall disseminate research accomplishments to the rest of the world.
  4. (Responsibility and Social Evaluation of Research)
    While balancing the responsibility of realizing the research principles of inheritance, creation, and development of knowledge with its role in society, the University of the Ryukyus shall endeavor to maintain and develop a sound research system. Research should be carried out while observing social ethics and standards and be open to mutual academic criticism and social evaluation.

Section 3. Contribution to Society

  1. (An Open University and Social Mission)
    The University of the Ryukyus aims to be a university that is “open to society” and that unites people. Recognizing the interrelationship by which the university changes society and vice versa, ceaseless efforts shall be made to accomplish the university’s social mission as the highest institution of learning in the Ryukyu Archipelago.
  2. (Cooperation with Society) The University of the Ryukyus shall not only return its academic knowledge and technology to society but shall also cooperate to form partnerships with diversified individuals and organizations to tackle common challenges.
  3. (Responsibility for the Sustainable Development of the Local Community)
    While working on the revitalization of the local community, the University of the Ryukyus shall assume the responsibility of contributing to the protection of the rich natural environment and sustainable development of the local community.

Section 4. University Management

  1. (Respecting Basic Human Rights)
    The University of the Ryukyus shall respect basic human rights and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, nationality, or special needs. We will also actively disclose relevant information in our possession while protecting personal information. The University of the Ryukyus shall provide an educational, research, and work environment in which all of its constituent members can fully exercise their individuality and abilities.
  2. (Democratic University Management and Efficient Administration)
    The University of the Ryukyus shall run an efficient operation with a democratic university management that supports education and research in order to secure the academic freedom and autonomy of the university. We shall also establish a financial base and sound management that will respond to the environment surrounding incorporated national universities such as ours and sustain the accompanying competition and evaluation.
  3. (Autonomy and Solidarity)
    The University of the Ryukyus shall form an intellectual community based on the autonomy and solidarity of faculty and staff, and it aims to be a creative and continuously evolving university in which the faculty, staff, and students unite as one. The constituent members of the university shall faithfully attend to independently accomplishing their roles and responsibilities, and reflect diversified feedback from society back to the management of the university.

Concluding Section Contribution to Peace

Historically, Okinawa has served as a “Bridge between Nations” in promoting peace and friendship among Asian countries, and it also experienced a devastating land battle, known as the “Typhoon of Steel,” during the Battle of Okinawa. Currently, vast U.S. military bases still exist in Okinawa even though its reversion to Japan took place after a long postwar U.S. administration. In light of a history such as this and the current conditions in Okinawa, the University of the Ryukyus shall contribute to the establishment of international peace.

The University of the Ryukyus respects ethics and humanity, and it shall base its contributions to peace on education, research, contribution to society, and the purposes of university management and principles set forth in this Charter.

(Amendments to the Charter)
Amendments to this Charter shall be made according to separately established procedures.

Supplementary provision
This Charter has been in effect since May 22, 2007.