From the Keynote Address by Robert Noddin, President & Chief Executive Officer AIG Japan Holdings KK


Robert Noddin


So, was there anything unique or special about being a TUJ student through your educational journey? I would say very definitively the answer is 'yes'. As the CEO of one of the largest foreign financial services company in Japan, as a member of the TUJ Board of Overseers, as a member of the US-Japan Bridging Foundation, as a father of a college son, and two more to follow soon, and as a many-year resident of Tokyo, Japan, and lastly, as, 31 years ago, a college exchange student here in Japan, I think I'm qualified to say to you, yes, you are very different and unique from your Japanese counterparts and from your US counterparts.

You had to continually challenge yourself and those around you while you engaged in a dialogue and collaborative process of learning. You didn't get here today by listening and memorizing. Your future will not be about repeating what you've been taught to memorize; it will be all about looking for the next new thing, the next different experience, and the confidence to know you're equipped to handle it. That positions you today for a very different set of opportunities. It has presented you with the chance to make a difference tomorrow in ways a local graduate is not as well equipped. You succeeded in mastering the art of 'why' in a society that has never placed a strong emphasis on non-conformity.

Diversity of thought, diversity of experience, diversity of behaviors…this country is crying out for it. The Abe government is trying in a variety of very visible ways to stimulate that diversity. And yet, it's not been the traditional way students have been educated to think, and it's certainly not the way that local company employees have been suggested and requested to behave.

"Why" can only be answered when truly questioning, and frequently, breaking with tradition. You represent and reflect "why". You can and you must be the difference in thought, in experience, and in behavior in this country, and this world is desperately looking for.

The one thing you mustn't do from today forward is to avoid pressing all the buttons that ask the question 'why'? 'why'? 'why'? TUJ prepared you to do that. Graduating from TUJ today required that you do it. Now, Japan and rest of the world need you to live it each and every day from this day forward.

Good luck and Good hunting!

Thank you, and once again, Omedetoo Gozaimasu!!

AIGジャパン・ホールディングス株式会社代表取締役社長兼CEO ロバート・ノディン氏 基調講演より