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Inaugural meeting of the Malaysia Branch

On Sunday February 21, 2016, in central Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, in the Sentral Accord Room of the Hilton Hotel, the inaugural ceremony of Nagoya University Alumni Association (NUAL)’s 15th overseas branch, the Malaysia Branch, took place. Malaysia has been home to more than 110 past students of Nagoya University since the late 1990s alone. Representing Nagoya University were University President Matsuo, Head of the Education and International Affairs Department Mr Saegusa, and his colleague, Ms Suzuki. I attended on behalf of NUAL. Unfortunately, Chief of Liaison Committee Mr Nakano and NUAL office representative Ms okazaki had come down with influenza and were unable to attend. Local attendees included 19 past Malaysian exchange students and 4 of their children. The oldest attendee was Dr Sivapragasam Annamalai, who graduated from the Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences in 1983 and will serve as an advisor to the new branch. However, the majority of the attendees had completed graduate studies at Nagoya University in the last 15 years. Some alumni drove 4 hours to attend the ceremony.

At a latitude of 3 degrees north, Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur is in the tropical zone, and while the sun’s rays were harsh, it was a comfortable temperature in the shade when there was a bit of breeze. Being the end of the rainy season, beautiful bougainvillea were in bloom.

Dr Nafarizal Bin Nayan (2008 graduate Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Graduate School of Engineering; Associate Professor Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia), the branch chairperson, met with the other committee candidates at the venue at 8:30. The last preparatory meeting then took place among just the Malaysian alumni to determine the branch committee members. The inaugural ceremony officially began at 11 o’clock, and was carried out primarily in Japanese. It seems that most of the Malaysian alumni who attended could speak Japanese. Dr. Jamila Mohd (2007 graduate Graduate School of Languages and Cultures, Senior Lecturer University of Malaya), who currently teaches Japanese at University of Malaya, kindly acted as master of ceremonies, and opened the ceremony in fluent Japanese.

President Matsuo first greeted the guests in both Japanese and English, and went on to express how delighted he was at the establishment of the Malaysia Branch. He told attendees that there were currently 47 Malaysian nationals studying at Nagoya University, reported on recent university news such as the Matsuo Initiative Nu Mirai 2020, and expressed his hopes that the new branch would go on to support Nagoya University in its continued efforts to encourage international admissions and good relations with countries in the Asian region.

Following this, I addressed the ceremony. I began by passing on congratulations from NUAL President Toyoda, before going on to express my gratitude to all those who had made the establishment of this new branch possible. I also explained the events that led to the establishment of NUAL and its overseas branches, and expressed my hope that the branches become the focal point for the international exchange activities of Nagoya University. Finally, I invited the new branch chairperson Dr Nafarizal to attend Nagoya University’s Homecoming Day on Saturday October 15, pointing out that we would be introducing our 15th overseas branch in NUAL’s 15th year.

After this address, President Matsuo handed the branch recognition certificate and branch flag, which we had brought from Japan, to Dr Nafarizal.

Next, Dr Nafarizal addressed the audience. He mentioned that arrangements to set up this branch had begun last spring, and that our Malaysian alumni were delighted at its establishment. He also expressed his wish to maximize the strengths of multicultural Malaysia to help Nagoya University and NUAL in their internationalization efforts, such as the incorporation of Halal food options. After Dr Nafarizal’s address, the 11 branch committee members were introduced using a slideshow list.

All of the attendees took a group photo with the branch flag to commemorate the occasion. A photo was also taken of the committee members with the representatives of Nagoya University.

Then, Dr. Hanafiah Yussof (2008 graduate Graduate School of Information Science, Lecturer University of Malaya) unveiled two spectacular upright dancing robots that he has developed. Alongside his work lecturing at university, Dr. Yussof is the director of two companies that he also founded. These robots are already available in Malaysia and we have been told they are selling well.

The Malaysia Branch presented President Matsuo with a model of the Petronas Twin Towers (452m, 88 storeys, the world’s tallest building in the 20th century), and the branch was given a commemorative plate from the university and traditional Japanese sweets from NUAL.

As we had one and a half hours for the ceremony, we were able to have each attendee introduce themselves individually. Attendees talked about how enjoyable their time at Nagoya University had been, and one spoke of how he had brought a Toyota car back from Japan with him and in 14 years it had never broken down. Attendees talked about their memories not only of studying at Nagoya University but also of ski trips and barbecues. We then took some more commemorative photos of each individual participant with President Matsuo and the branch flag.

After the ceremony had ended, we moved to the restaurant on the lobby level (3rd floor) of the hotel and enjoyed a buffet lunch and chat.

After lunch at 2pm, President Matsuo and three other attendees were given a tour of the city in Dr Nafarizal and another local attendee’s cars. We saw the King’s Palace (nine Sultans elect one among them to be King every five years), University of Malaya, and the marketplace.

Due to President Matsuo’s busy schedule, after leaving Japan on Saturday 20th and holding the inaugural ceremony on Sunday 21st, he needed to board a plane that evening to be back in Japan on Monday morning. It was a 1-night 3-day whirlwind trip. President Matsuo then managed to arrive on campus at 9:58 to open a board meeting at 10:00. I would like to thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule to attend the ceremony. Our Malaysian friends also spared no time emailing us to thank us for opening the new branch.

Regarding the Establishment of the Malaysia Branch

                                                              Seiichi Matsuo

                                                     President, Nagoya University

Thank you to all of the members of the Nagoya University Alumni Association for your continued support and understanding. I would also like to express my gratitude to each of the NUAL branches for the important role they play in linking Nagoya University with its alumni.

The Nagoya University Alumni Association was established in October 2002, making this its 14th year. In this time we have seen overseas branches set up in South Korea, Bangladesh, Shanghai, Thailand, Beijing, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Taiwan, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Now we are welcoming our 15th branch in Malaysia.

The establishment of this branch has been made possible by the hard work of Dr Nafarizal Bin Nayan, a 2008 graduate of our Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Graduate School of Engineering and current Assistant Professor at Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), along with the support of all of our alumni in Malaysia. Dr Nafarizal has also kindly agreed to act as the first branch Chairperson of the Malaysia Branch, and accept the branch recognition certificate from Shoichiro Toyoda, President of NUAL. I feel confident that he will make every effort to contribute to the development of the branch going forward.

As at this February, there were 47 Malaysian students at Nagoya University, making this the sixth largest nationality of overseas students. Now the cumulative number of alumni working in their home country of Malaysia totals well over 100. Around 20 of these alumni attended the ceremony and reception, and it was a very lively event. The establishment of this new branch brought to light the desire of our Malaysian alumni to deepen their relationship with Nagoya University. Each of the branches that have been established thus far are now very active, and although the Malaysian Branch has only just been created, I have high hopes for its future growth. During the establishment ceremony and the reception that followed we already received various ideas for the future activities of the branch. On behalf of Nagoya University, I would like to express how important we believe our continuing relationships are with international students after their graduation, and our desire to collaborate with NUAL’s overseas branches to support the various linking initiatives and information sharing with our international alumni.

Finally, I would like to express my sincere hope that our alumni will further deepen their ties with Nagoya University, and I look forward to seeing the continued growth of Nagoya University and the activities of our alumni.

Hilton Kuala Lumpur
NU President Matsuo's opening address
NUAL Chief Secretary Ito's speech
Conferment of Certificate Authorization
Presentation of the Branch banner
Branch Chairperson Nafarizal Bin Nayan's speech
Memorial photo of participants
Dancing robots
Commemorative photo of participants with President Matsuo
Commemorative photo in front of the Palace

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