Hiroaki Fujii '58

Doctor of Humane Letters

A son of Amherst in the Class of 1958, you have devoted your working life to improving understanding between Japan and the other nations. In your career as a diplomat, you have held many key positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including posts in India, Geneva, Hong Kong and Thailand. Your last appointment in the ministry was Japan's second highest diplomatic post, Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

In that position, you articulated a strong vision for Japan—one in which your country would serve not only as an economic leader in Asia, but also as a force to break down the historical divide between East and West. A gentle, reflective person, you have always been interested in the ways different cultures interact. In your newest role as president of the Japan Foundation, you have the opportunity to see the flowering of cultural exchange between your home country and the rest of the world.

The ties between Amherst College and Japan are both strong and deep. In the 1920s, your foreign ministry forged an agreement with the College to admit young diplomats as students here. The hope was to provide some of Japan's best young people with a broad exposure to American society and culture and access to liberal arts education. Among more than 20 such graduates of the College, you enjoy a special distinction: You have graduated from no other college. Amherst is truly your alma mater.

Amherst has historically benefited from the generosity of the Japan Foundation: The College's Japanese language program was started and sustained with grants from the foundation in the '70s and '80s; and the junior-year program at Doshisha has likewise profited from similar support.

And so it honors your alma mater to salute you for your exemplary career dedicated to international understanding and peace through education.

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