President Suzuki’s New Year’s Message to Students

Dear AIU Students

Happy New Year!

Last year, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the campus was closed, the graduation ceremony was postponed, the entrance ceremony, lectures for the spring and fall semesters, as well as the university festival went online, and study abroad programs were cancelled. However, thanks to your patience and cooperation, we have been able to start the New Year without any students suffering from a COVID-19 infection. I would like to express my gratitude once again for your efforts to follow health guidelines.

As you know, the spread of COVID-19 has been unstoppable, with many infected people and, unfortunately, deaths continuing to occur every day in Japan and the rest of the world. In addition, a mutated form of the virus has recently been confirmed, and the situation is unpredictable. I have experienced many challenges in my life, but I must say that this is a once-in-a-century situation that is having an enormous impact on the economy, culture, sports, education, and daily life around the world. For the past 9 months, AIU has been working hard to find the best solution to overcome these difficulties, and I am very proud of all our AIU students, as I see through the online classes and the university festival that you continue to move forward with strong spirits even in these times of emergency.

On the 9th of January, 91 freshman students who have never set foot on campus since enrolling at AIU will move into our on-campus apartments. Accepting students on campus was an extremely difficult decision to make as the infection continues to spread, but we made it based on the desire of the freshman to stay on campus, the fact that we have established robust infection prevention measures at AIU, and the reality that we now have a well-developed medical system for COVID-19 treatment in Akita. The first thing we need to do is to get through this winter program without any infections. Based on the experience we will gain, if everything is going well, we should be able to accept more students from this coming spring semester onward. In order to accomplish this, we will need the cooperation of not only those who will live on campus, but also those who will commute to school and those who are staying in Japan and abroad, which basically means every one of you. During the fall semester, I had the opportunity to participate in several online social events organized by students, and I strongly felt that you are not alone. You are all connected and these connections, I feel, will be the power to support AIU as we move into this unpredictable future.

As the Vice President and I have mentioned several times in our previous messages to you, how you spend your time during this difficult period is very important. Let’s find ways to live positively and creatively, and let’s connect together and overcome these difficulties by demonstrating the power of the liberal arts and the strength of the AIU SPIRIT.

In some countries around the world, vaccinations against COVID-19 have begun, and it is reported that some vaccinations will begin in Japan as early as February. Although there are still some uncertainties, we can say that we are finally seeing the light at the end of this very dark tunnel.

The battle against COVID-19 will continue this year. However, 2021 will surely be better than last year, so let’s go forward with a refreshed spirit. Please take care of your health and spend your days with strong hearts and minds.

President, Norihiko Suzuki DBA

AIU’s Response to Coronavirus

For up-to-date information on AIU’s response to COVID-19, please see our dedicated web page here.