About AIU

President’s Message

Picture of President Cassim

At the Crossroad of Possibilities

Akita International University (AIU) was founded in Akita prefecture in 2004, initiating a new type of global education that had not existed in Japan before. Today AIU welcomes students from around the nation and has been recognized globally, as illustrated by its position in the Times Higher Education Japan University Rankings. We can humbly say that this is a miracle made possible by the AIU Community comprising the diverse and vibrant student, faculty, and staff population, the local Akita community, and our partner universities across the globe.

AIU has provided a liberal arts education with the goal of developing global leaders. At the core of our education, we empower students to accumulate knowledge and cultivate character. In addition, thriving in our increasingly chaotic world requires an advanced level of practical application skills. This is why we implemented a new educational method called Applied International Liberal Arts (AILA) starting in 2021. Almost all classes incorporate projects relating to real social issues and self-reflection. These projects are designed to incrementally develop the students' skills to logically think, write, and communicate while establishing oneself through real experiences outside the university and Japan. We encourage students to grow by training their Integrated Knowledge and Interpersonal Skills.

Our current society is full of unsolved issues that must be tackled on a worldwide scale. When we unravel the issues, we will find they are directly and indirectly connected to local problems. Akita has many areas that can be linked to SDGs, and AIU offers many opportunities to collaborate with the local community. We can also utilize the global network of partner universities, which is one of AIU's strengths. For example, the rapidly developing wind power industry in Akita may benefit from possible joint research with universities in Denmark and the UK, which are leading nations in renewable energy. The AIU Community provides a learning environment where students can combine multiple fields according to their interests – such as agriculture and climate, or healthy life expectancy and science & technology - and gain experience through practically applying their knowledge and skills.

In April 2022, we opened the Creative Design & Data Science Center on campus, a base for taking on the challenges of social issues with data analysis and creative design skills and for promoting the advancement of AILA. Even if the world becomes increasingly uncertain, and even if we enter an advanced digital society, we will still need global leaders who can connect with others across borders to solve problems. We look forward to meeting those of you with the will to pioneer the unlimited possibility of AILA.

President, Akita International University

President's Profile

1947 Born in Colombo, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
1970 B.Sc. Built Environment, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Sri Lanka, Colombo
1974-1981 Research Fellow and Coordinator, Group Asia 80 Program, Japan Center for Area Development Research
1976 M.Eng. (Urban Engineering), Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo
1976-1977 Lecturer and Secretary of the Committee for Graduate School Establishment, University Sains Malaysia
1980-1984 Architect at Design Management Division, Design Department, Mitsui Construction Ltd.
1982 Withdrawal from the Doctoral Program with the Completion of Course Requirements of Urban Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo
1985-1994 Senior Research Fellow (U.N. Expert) and Program Coordinator, United Nations Center for Regional Development
1994-2018 Professor, Ritsumeikan University
2004-2009 President, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
2004-2012 Vice Chancellor, Ritsumeikan Trust
2013-2014 Special Aide to the Chancellor, Ritsumeikan Trust
2014-2017 Member, Board of Councilors, Ritsumeikan Trust
2014-2021 Executive Trustee, Akita International University
2015-2018 Assistant Trustee, Ritsumeikan Trust
2018-2021 President, Trustee and Professor, Shizenkan University
2021-present President (Chair of the Board), Akita International University

Other prominent posts including University Council Executive Trustee of Vietnam-Japan University, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Councilors of Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology and Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

Publications include Concepts of sustainability (Chapter.2 in An introduction to sustainability science, (Horitsu Bunka Sha, 2013)). He has also given many lectures at the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science(SLAAS)and universities in Japan and abroad and more.
In 2016, he was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure [Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon] from the Government of Japan for his contribution to the promotion of private education in Japan and his continuous efforts to promote mutual understanding between Sri Lanka and Japan.
In 2017 he received a National Honours Lifetime Award (Vidya Nidhi) for Contributions to science and technology by the Government of Sri Lanka.