Bringing the world to Otaru, one lecturer at a time.

Hear from a variety of speakers with real-world prestige and experience!

About the Series

“As a student educated at universities in the United States and United Kingdom, I had the opportunity to attend schools where there was always something happening on campus. Talks, concerts, exhibitions, movies and debates were available to the university community, creating an intellectually-stimulating environment. At those universities, often in small college towns, the school was the community. In Japan however, such on campus opportunities are rare. Otaru University of Commerce, a small national university with a high commuter population, on a mountain slope of an aging but beautiful town, was like many Japanese universities, a sleepy, quiet place. I wanted to bring the excitement of the college town experience to Otaru University of Commerce. To do so, I began the first visiting lectures in 2010. The goal was simple: to bring in talented speakers on a wide variety of subject matter in English, to develop the skills of our students and faculty, and to create a more intellectual atmosphere at our university. I knew there were talented speakers of English around the Sapporo/Otaru area and I set out to find them with the belief that “Everyone has a story”. What I hadn’t expected was that such a wide range of talented people lived in this area. The Series could not have succeeded without the generosity of their time given to our students. Since its inception in 2010, more than 100 speakers have visited Otaru University of Commerce. And each semester, the Series has grown with the support of the students, faculty and administration. Grants and internal funding have allowed us to extend our reach beyond Hokkaido, to bring in talented speakers from throughout Japan. Our speakers have included academics, business people, diplomats, writers, musicians, and artists. This Series is unique in Japan and has grown into an important part of the university experience at Otaru Shodai. I hope you will enjoy browsing this site and learning about the Otaru University of Commerce English Lecture Series.”

- Professor Shawn M. Clankie
Founder and Host, Otaru University of Commerce English Lecture Series

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