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Unprecedented G8 University Summit kicks off in Sapporo (June 30, 2008)

Participants of the G8 University Summit discuss the roles of universities in achieving sustainable social development.

The G8 University Summit began its two-day program on June 30 at the Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo in the city's Chuo Ward for academic societies to discuss ways of coping with global warming and other international issues. Presidents and representatives from 35 universities around the world met to talk about the sustainability of the earth and the roles of universities. On the final day, a declaration will be summarized asking G8 leaders for their support during the Hokkaido Toyako Summit.

The G8 University Summit Organizing Committee consists of members from Hokkaido, Tokyo and Keio universities. The current meeting is the first of its kind in the world, and attempts to leverage the attention given to the forthcoming Summit.

Hokkaido University is one of 14 domestic universities taking part in the meeting, along with 20 overseas universities from a total of 13 G8 and non-G8 nations including China's Beijing University, England's Cambridge University, the United States' Yale University and the United Nations University. Tokyo University president and committee chairperson Hiroshi Komiyama said, "Universities should be the intelligent core of securing super-long-term sustainable social development in the future. We will announce the results of our discussions through a statement to promote common understanding and to express our determination."

A plenary session was then conducted, and participants from five universities including Russia's Far Eastern National University brought up questions. The necessity of arguments based on an interdisciplinary approach and the diversity of universities both in advanced and developing countries was confirmed. In the afternoon, parallel sessions were held on the theme of international research networks and education for future generations.

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