Ambassador Howard H. Baker, Jr. Speaks at International Christian University

September 3, 2002

President Kinukawa, distinguished guests, faculty, and students from Japan and so many other countries: For the past half century, International Christian University has played a vital role in Japan's internationalization and the moral education of young people from this country and around the globe. As a representative of the United States - Japan's closest friend and global partner - and as the proud grandfather of one of you here today, I am honored to join you at this ceremony marking the beginning of a new academic year.

The moral challenges that confront us have become all too clear in this past year. The terrorist barbarity of September 11 showed us the evil sewn by fanaticism and intolerance. As people from every nation together mourned the loss of so many innocent lives from so many countries, we also realized the urgent need to embrace anew the values of tolerance, respect for diversity, and for freedom. The long-term answers to terrorism and the other afflictions we face in our globalized time begin with young leaders able to bridge cultural differences and devoted to mutual understanding.

These are precisely the skills and values that ICU has imparted to so many so well over so many years. I congratulate the new students here, not just for gaining admission to this great and demanding university, but also for having chosen this special place to prepare yourselves to lead us through this new century of danger and promise.

I know you will take advantage of the unique opportunities you have as members of this remarkable academic community. Share your intelligence and your experience. Share your wisdom and your commitment to international understanding. And share your certain knowledge that free men and women around the world embrace the same objectives.

Your course of study will be rigorous, but this is proper preparation for the tasks that await all of you in the wider world. Seeing the dedication and intelligence in your faces, I know you are equal to the task.

Today you have heard from me briefly. I know that in the future we will be hearing at length from you. And I wish you well.