The 5th Asian Universities Forum -- Keynote Speech

Event: The 5th Asian Universities Forum -- Keynote Speech
Date: 10:10, May 12 (Thu), 2016
Venue: Hoam Convention Center

Fellow presidents and honored guests,

We have gathered here today to share ideas, to help improve each other, and to celebrate together what we as educators have achieved in our respective communities. Words cannot describe how thrilled I am.

Now, we will begin our first session with the theme of ‘Educating Future Leaders with Compassion and Social Responsibility.’ This theme is based on my strong belief as an educator at Seoul National University. If you could allow me, for the next few minutes, I would like to share my personal vision with all of you.

Since my tenure as the SNU President, I have always emphasized the importance of ‘virtue and compassion’ to our students at SNU. I sure hope that our students will become a leader in our society someday.

But I also hope that our students would become a leader with ‘virtue and compassion’, caring for others and their community at large. Intelligence, which I have no doubt our students all have, is important - but it is not enough.

Good will and warm hearts, products of ‘virtue and compassion’, are equally important, if not more important, than intelligence in a leader. Without ‘virtue and compassion’, our students are merely an ‘actor,’ and not a ‘leader.’ As a leader, they need to be proactive, ready to work for their community and society when the needs arise --- when they see an opportunity for them to make difference.

In order to educate our students with virtue and compassion, we at Seoul National University have been running the two programs at a global scale: One is called ‘SNU President Fellowship’ and the second one is ‘SNU in the World Program.’

I will just spend a few minutes to give you an overview of these two programs.

First, since 2014, we have launched the ‘SNU President Fellowship’ to provide opportunities to faculty members of major universities in developing countries of Asia to pursue PhD degrees at Seoul National University. Each year, we select six to eight promising faculty members for the program. So far, we have selected eighteen faculty members from Thailand, Myanmar, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, China, Laos and Nepal. Now, they are currently working for their PhD degrees here as the SNU President Fellowship scholars.

As many of you may guess, the main driver for social-economic development of Korea has been our investment in human capital. Through this ‘SNU President Fellowship’ program, we share our experience with, and support, other nations striving for the same goal.

Our second program, ‘SNU in World Program’, was established to provide opportunities to SNU students to study some of the leading countries such as China, Japan, Russia, the United States, France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland.

In each of these countries, students and faculty advisers spend six to eight weeks in intensive programs to help them understand the socio-political systems and cultures of host country.

Before students leave our campus, they also receive language training and lectures from the leading scholars of each nation. Our university supports these students by providing scholarships for airfare and accommodation for each selected participant.

This program is very popular among our students. Since 2012, I am proud to say that many of our students who went through the program are now well on their way to become global leaders and field experts of tomorrow. I would be happy to share more details of these programs with all of you --- so please ask any one of us if you are interested.

In conclusion, I am truly honored and excited to provide this platform for the Fifth Asian Universities Forum with the theme of ‘Educating Future Leaders with Compassion and Social Responsibility.’

Our efforts and collaboration will provide a solid ground for our students to become global leaders with compassion and social responsibility. I look forward to a productive and memorable forum.

Thank you all very much.