The 2023 edition of this lecture series was conducted on Wednesday, 12 July as part of the activities of Mois de la France à Yokohama (French Month in Yokohama), a pluridisciplinary festival held every year by Institut français de Yokohama (French Institute of Yokohama) whose mission is to promote French culture abroad in Japan. His Excellency Philippe Setton, Ambassador of France to Japan delivered a captivating lecture to approximately 240 students under the theme “Ten Years of Exceptional France-Japan Partnership: Lessons and Perspectives” (Dix ans de partenariat d'exception franco-japonais : enseignements et perspectives). Professor Takehiko Uemura from YCU’s School of International Liberal Arts served as moderator.
In his lecture, the Ambassador talked about the old relationship existing between France and Yokohama as well as Japan. He especially mentioned that, among the many levels of diplomatic relationships between countries, the one between France and Japan was elevated to “Exceptional Partnership” in 2013, elaborating on the diverse aspects of this relationship over the last 10 years. In the global instability of recent years, and based on many common values shared by France and Japan such as freedom, democracy, and human rights, both countries have promoted bilateral as well as multilateral dialogue via international platforms including those provided by the G7 Summit of which Japan assumes the Presidency in 2023. Ambassador Setton also indicated that encouraging interactions between students and other human communication is a great way to promote such dialogu.
In other facets of the international scene, the Ambassador explained that the Indo-Pacific is an important region both politically and economically for both France and Japan, and that the countries are strengthening cooperation toward defending and preserving its maritime freedom and the rule of law.
In the Q&A session held after the lecture, students asked Ambassador Setton his opinion on which global issues France considers particularly important. His answer encompassed the importance of global governance, the rule of law, and multilateralism. The Ambassador closed his lecture by expressing that the history of relations between France and Japan is long and solid, and that the two countries will continue to deepen this connection in the future. He finished by inviting the students to consider further study in France.
Yokohama City University offers a student exchange program with Université Jean-Moulin-Lyon-III as well as a clinical clerkship program at Université Paris Cité and Université de Strasbourg for students of the School of Medicine. Every year, YCU also holds various events promoting France, including a Master Class seminar in conjunction with Yokohama’s Festival du film français au Japon (French Film Festival in Japan).