Tomodachi Japan and Russia Edition 2018


University Collaboration Shaping the Future

In January 2018, at the “Kanazawa University Kick-off Symposium for MEXT ‘Inter-University Exchange Project’–‘Training Program for Russia-Japan Innovative Leaders of Tomorrow,’” a memorandum for cooperation on the Double Diploma Program was exchanged between Kazan Federal University and Kanazawa University. (From the left are KFU Vice-Rector Dmitry Tayursky and Rector Ilshat Gafurov, and Kanazawa University President Koetsu Yamazaki and Vice President Yoshio Otani).

 Over the last 30 years, Kanazawa University in Ishikawa Prefecture has developed a relationship with the prestigious Kazan Federal University (KFU) in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. Exchange began in 1988 when Dr. Haruhiko Suzuki, Professor of Kanazawa University, began sharing his research in low temperature physics with counterparts at KFU. Low temperature physics is the field of science dealing with the property of materials in environments where temperatures approach absolute zero. Ten years later in 1998, the universities signed an agreement to engage in joint research projects and to facilitate exchanges of students, a commitment to collaboration that continues today.

 Japan and Russia lead the world in low temperature physics research, and Kanazawa University and KFU have combined their respective strengths in cooperative research activities. Kanazawa University carries out experiments, while KFU grows crystal samples and works on the theoretical underpinnings and implications of these experiments, making for an active exchange of researchers and ideas. Scholars from the two universities jointly publish academic articles and make presentations together at international conferences.

 Students also benefit from the support of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT). According to Dr. Aida Mammadova, Associate Professor of Kanazawa University Organization of Global Affairs, “The Republic of Tatarstan has evolved uniquely, with diverse cultures and ethnic groups blending together. Japanese students thus find their time at KFU an invaluable and eye-opening cross-cultural experience. Students from Russia, on the other hand, are very eager to visit Japan, and they find living in the country and encountering Japanese culture firsthand quite stimulating. The programs create a beneficial situation for all involved.”

Kazan Federal University (left) in Kazan, capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, established in 1804, is known as the birthplace of organic chemistry in Russia. Kanazawa University (right) in Ishikawa Prefecture is a national university created in 1949 by the merger of five schools including the former national Kanazawa Medical University, which had its roots in a vaccination center established in 1862.

 Kanazawa University’s “Training Program for Russia-Japan Innovative Leaders of Tomorrow” was selected by MEXT as an “Inter-University Exchange Project” in August 2017. This program will expand collaboration with Russian universities such as KFU and with a research organization in the Republic of Tatarstan, and will include the launching of a basic science program in physics and computing science, a preventative medicine program centered in the areas of neuroscience, oncology, and circulatory and preventative medicine, and advanced science and technology programs in machine engineering and in information science.

KFU Vice-Rector Tayursky (right middle) with Kanazawa University faculty and staff, discussing the future direction of the two universities’ relationship.

 Yoshio Otani, Vice President of Kanazawa University, explains, “We are planning a double diploma program so that graduates can receive degrees from both universities. Dmitry Tayursky, Vice-Rector for Education of KFU who has experience as a lecturer at Kanazawa University, has deep appreciation for Japan and enthusiasm for the program. Under Tayursky’s strong leadership, planning for the exchange program is proceeding smoothly.” Tayursky also speaks his enthusiasm, “Any collaboration between universities in different countries is a kind of ‘people diplomacy.’ We are looking for a new generation of young leaders who can transform the world for the prosperity and benefit of both societies.”

 Otani believes that “enhanced collaboration between Kanazawa University and KFU will make for good relationships between Ishikawa Prefecture and the Republic of Tatarstan, and between Japan and Russia.”

Russian students visited Japan through the cultural exchange program of Kanazawa University.

Dr. Yoshio Otani, Vice President of Kanazawa University, also directs the Organization of Global Affairs.