Zelenskyy delivers online lecture at Toyo University, calls for support of peace

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gives an online lecture to students at Toyo University in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo, on Monday evening.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on students to support efforts for peace during an online lecture at Toyo University in Tokyo on Monday.

“Ukraine is fighting for peace,” Zelenskyy, speaking in Ukrainian, told the crowd of about 350 students that includes Ukrainians studying at the university and others. “I hope you will support peace that gives us the freedom for education, jobs and to create things.”

It was the first time Zelenskyy addressed a group in Japan since his speech to the Diet on March 23.

Toyo University has accepted a total of 13 students and researchers from Ukraine based on agreements concluded in April with three Ukrainian universities. Monday’s lecture had been proposed by the Ukrainian Embassy in Japan.

Zelenskyy pointed out during his lecture, “I think young Japanese have come to know about war from books, movies and video games,” adding, “When a war begins, ordinary peace becomes just a memory.”

A 18-year-old freshman at Toyo, said, “He left a deep impression on me. I have a renewed feeling of the importance of peace.”

During a question-and-answer session, a female student asked the president, “What can we do to help in the reconstruction of Ukraine?” Zelenskyy replied, “I’m sincerely grateful for your support. The best thing you can do is to interact with [the Ukrainian students] as friends.”

Asked by a female Ukrainian student studying tourism at Toyo about how she and others now in Japan can contribute, Zelenskyy said, “I hope you will join in the reconstruction of Ukraine using the experience and knowledge you gain in Japan.”

The lecture was streamed to 14 other universities across Japan. A 20-year-old junior at Matsuyama University in Ehime Prefecture said, “I realized that my lifestyle isn’t something to be taken for granted, that it is a blessing. I want to think about what I can do in the pursuit of peace.”

Spreading support

At universities across Japan, the ring of support for Ukraine is expanding.

As of June 29, 40 universities in Japan had accepted a total of 179 students and researchers evacuated from Ukraine, according to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

At Tokyo’s Sophia University, eight Ukrainian students will start attending classes from early July. In preparation for their arrival, the university held a lecture for its student body on June 27 titled “The effects of war damage on mental health.” A university official explained, “We want to give a warm welcome to students coming to Japan from the ravages of war.”

In addition, the University of Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture announced that it will be accepting 20 students from Ukraine from mid-July. It also plans to accept an additional 30 students in a second round of applications in the near future.