International Christian University – ICU – was founded in 1949 to “to pursue truth, defend academic freedom and enrich inner freedom.” It is seen as one of the most distinguished liberal arts universities in Japan.
ICU was established shortly after World War Two and this has an impact on the international approach at the university. Deep reflections of the war, causes and consequences, led to a founding philosophy of embracing a supranational perspectives.
The university is bilingual, with programmes in both English and Japanese. The Rotary Peace Centre at the university holds courses in English, however fellows are encouraged to engage in Japanese language learning. Consequently, “ICU sees itself as a bridge both to and from Japan.”
In 2002 ICU was designated one of seven Rotary Peace Centres around the world. “The International Christian University (ICU) Rotary Peace Center seeks to develop fellows from different parts of the world skilled in addressing issues of conflict and development and actively engaged in enhancing international peace and cooperation.”
The campus at ICU is divine! It is set in 150 acres adorned in woodland full of cedar, bamboo and cherry blossom trees. The campus can be found about 30 minutes West of Tokyo in Mitaka area. The campus was originally the Nakajima Aircraft Research Facility, which was sold to ICU by General Douglas MacArthur after the signing of the ICU Charter in 1949. To this day, ICU utilises the Nakajima facility as the main buildings for classes to be held in. According to Paul Hastings, Japan ICU Foundation, “it serves as a reminder of the war and as an example of ICU’s commitment to peacebuilding through education.” (Rethinking Peace, 2019)
For more information on why I chose ICU, check out my blog here of the top ten reasons I applied, published by both Rotary International and the PDCN group.