Many civilian and military casualties have been reported in the fighting that has erupted following the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian troops. People are spending their days in fear as they take refuge in shelters or flee across the Ukrainian border, leaving their hometowns behind them. I am deeply saddened when I think about what they are going through.
When our founder, Reverend Yasuzo Shimizu, established the school, he expounded the virtue of a “pacifist spirit.” He defined this as the spirit of favoring peace under any circumstances, and the spirit of becoming a beloved nation by building friendly relations with the people of neighboring countries through efforts for communication, not reliance on military force. Today, the importance of communicating with a global perspective is often spoken of, but I believe that the essence of communication is the pacifist spirit.
As members of the J. F. Oberlin University community, and as Oberliners possessing this pacifist spirit, expectations are held on us to apply our learning for the development of a peaceful society and to build rich relationships by putting into practice our school creed of "Gakujijijin (learning in order to be able to help others)" and the ideology of "love the neighbor.” Living through the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and witnessing major conflicts may lead to feelings of disheartenment and despair, but it is imperative that we move forward by changing our sentiments to courage and hope.
I sincerely hope for peace to return to Ukraine as soon as possible so that people can go about their lives without fear. Let us make every effort to maintain an environment where a diversity of people, regardless of nationality or ethnicity, can come together to learn.