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UN Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support, Mr. Atul Khare, Speaks at KGU Symposium

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Dean Takahiro Shinyo (Integrated Center for UN and Foreign
Affairs Studies) with UN Under-Secretary General Atul Khare

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support, Mr. Atul Khare, visited the Nishinomiya Uegahara Campus on May 19 and met with President Osamu Murata, Chair of the Board Ippei Murakami, and others.

When coming to Japan in the past, Under-Secretary-General Khare had mostly visited Tokyo. His visit to KGU became a reality through his connections dating back more than 20 years with professors in the Graduate Course in UN and Foreign Affairs Studies, a graduate minor program at KGU, namely Dean Takahiro Shinyo of the Integrated Center for UN and Foreign Affairs Studies (former Japanese Ambassador to Germany, former Representative of Japan to the United Nations) and Professor Jun Kukita (former Representative of UNICEF in Kazakhstan, current KGU Top Global University Project Visiting Professor). The Graduate Course in UN and Foreign Affairs Studies is a special program for training staff members to work at the United Nations and other international organizations, which students can take as a minor while belonging to the graduate school (Master’s/Professional degree) of their major. 

Chair Ippei Murakami (left), President Osamu Murata
(center), Under-Secretary General Khare (right)

During an informal talk, Khare revealed that Yasushi Akashi, a special advisor to the university president and a former UN Under-Secretary-General, who was also the first Japanese person to serve as a UN staff member, was like a “sensei” to him. Khare said it was due to Akashi’s influence that he became interested in peacekeeping operations himself, which led to his subsequent career path. He had words of praise for the UN and Foreign Affairs Course, saying that “the course is fulfilling a vital role in terms of Japan making personnel contributions to the UN.” Afterward, Under-Secretary-General Khare took the stage at a symposium to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the UN and Foreign Affairs Course. He touched on the fact that there are about 20 Japanese staff members working at the UN Department of Operational Support, which he leads, and introduced examples of Japanese contributions to peacekeeping operations.

A student asking a question after the lecture
Later, he advised students that “To manage a team, you need to work with an awareness of your team members’ individual hopes and values,” and that “Logic is the starting point for creating change, but you won’t be able to convince people merely by using logic. You can’t create change that way. That is why you must take logic-based action.” In response to a question about opportunities to engage with peacekeeping operations while still being students, he told the gathered students that “Kwansei Gakuin University has internships available such as the UN Youth Volunteers, where you will be dispatched to various UN institutions, and you can be involved with international contribution activities while you are still students. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, there are also hybrid programs conducted remotely, so I hope that you will actively seek out and take advantage of these opportunities.”

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