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Introducing the Global Leaders Program

Dec 18, 2019

The Global Leaders Program is an undergraduate program run by the Department of Political Science and International Relations which aims to foster the next generation of leaders in the public sector.

This program was organized through generous donations from department alumni, who hope that, through the various experiences the program offers, graduates can leave better equipped with a wide range of capabilities and perspectives. It is designed as a complementary addition to existing undergraduate subjects offered by the department, to deepen the learning process and give students the opportunity to apply their knowledge practically.

Specifically, the Global Leaders Program consists of a first-year welcoming festival and a talk concert with department alumni, a second-year overseas field trip, a third- and fourth-year small group seminar with department faculty, and finally the future global leader award.

The undergraduate seminar is run through the three-credit Global Leadership Practice course, two to four of which are offered every semester. They are organized by subject matter, usually dealing with the most pertinent political issues of the time, led by an appropriate faculty member with expertise in each respective field. This past fall semester, the seminars explored topics such as the history and structure of Korean-Japanese relations, a practical reading of Thucydides, China-US competition in the age of the fourth industrial revolution, and data science in international politics.

In the seminars, students design and develop their own individual or team studies on their desired subject matter with the aim of completing a final thesis. They are encouraged to organize small-scale academic field trips to collect data and conduct field research, and to exchange the results of their research with peers through midterm and final presentations. Outstanding studies are recognized through awards at the end of the semester and are given the opportunity to be published.

The program celebrated its five-year anniversary this year, and hosted an open lecture and question-and-answer session with department alumni in commemoration. The speakers included Soma Hirohisa (Minister, Japanese Embassy in Seoul, Department of International Relations, Class of ‘89), Park Jong-Seok (Korean National Diplomatic Academy, Department of International Relations, Class of ’85), and Kim Chul-Ho (President of the Korea Abraham Lincoln Society, Department of International Relations, Class of ’70). Career diplomats Hirohisa and Park reminded students of the importance of prudence in handling tricky diplomatic affairs, a particularly meaningful statement in light of the currently strained relationship between Korea and Japan. They also shared their personal stories with the students, offering encouraging words of wisdom based on their own life experiences.

Written by Minju Kim, SNU English Editor,
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations,