Gerhard Fasol’s welcome address to The Master, Dame Sally Davies, at the Trinity Japan dinner on 28 February 2023
Dear Master, Dame Sally, welcome to Trinity in Japan, and thank you and Trinity College for the great support.
With the support of then Master Lord Martin Rees, I founded Trinity in Japan on 5 September 2014.
I was about 13 years at Trinity, first for my PhD, then as Research Fellow, then Teaching Fellow and Director of Studies, in parallel to my University Lectureship at the Cavendish. I came first to Japan in 1984 as a Trinity Research Fellow to build research cooperation projects first with NTT Research Labs and later with Tokyo University, and RIKEN.
Since September 2014 we had 69 dinner events, and 40 zoom events, in total more than 100 events.
I founded Trinity in Japan with triple purpose:
1. Serve the Trinity community.
Here some results: for our Trinity Japan zoom conferences I invite selected Japanese research leaders. To my knowledge, this seems to have led to a cooperation between one of the Trinity Fellows, and one of his companies, and a Japanese research leader, who I had invited to one of our Trinity Japan zoom conferences. Or as another example, former Visiting Fellow Commoner Professor YF invited alumnus mathematician AG to a mathematics conference he organized in Kyushu.
2. Make Trinity known in Japan, which serves us all.
You may be surprised, but Trinity with more Nobel Prize winners than all of Japan, is not known in Japan. As example, a Japanese investment banker with whom I recently had lunch, told me that “Trinity College Cambridge is not known to the Japanese Elite”. I invited him to one of our Trinity Japan zoom events, so now at least he knows about Trinity, and I hope he will spread the message to his friends.
In my experience, too many Japanese people when they hear about Cambridge Colleges think about Harry Potter first. We have to change that, and I have a number of ideas for that. So my second purpose is to create mind-share, foot print for Trinity in Japan to help opportunities grow.
By the way, I am doing this in parallel with the Ludwig Boltzmann Forum, which I am building as a global leadership forum, here in Tokyo with the Austrian Embassy, and other locations, and in parallel on zoom, in honor of my great-grandfather Ludwig Boltzmann who is one of the most important physicists. (https://boltzmann.com/forum/)
3. Lastly, UK investment into Japan is dramatically lower than Japanese investment in UK. Japan is difficult, our Trinity community can help.
Gerhard Fasol (Trinity 1978, PhD, and former Fellow), Founder and Chair, Trinity in Japan
See also: “The Fountain, Boltzmann anD Japan” in The Fountain, Issue 29, Summer 2020
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