"Embarking on an Old, yet New Path for ‘Creating a Civilized World’"
Inaugural Address: 16th President of Kyung Hee University


"Embarking on an Old, yet New Path for ‘Creating a Civilized World’"

Inaugural Address: 16th President of Kyung Hee University

I am pleased to greet you all as the 16th President of Kyung Hee University.

I took office as the new President of Kyung Hee University on February 14 following a decision by the Board of Directors of the Kyung Hee University System. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff and faculty who took part in the election process that preceded the Board’s decision. As the new President, I feel a strong sense of responsibility for leading the University toward a greater future; the enormous sense of duty certainly weighs on my shoulder. But I envision myself as a bird taking flight, flapping both wings vigorously, with Kyung Hee’s proud past and our shared vision of a glorious future being the wind that bears my endeavor as I gear up to soar.

Since its founding in 1949, Kyung Hee University has built a strong tradition of ‘Academe and Peace’ and pursued a vision of ‘Creating a Civilized World,’ based on intellectual introspection on the history of human civilization. Its founding spirit, proud history, and illustrious heritage have been the unwavering foundation upon which the University has remained while being fully committed to its fundamental responsibilities of education, research, and practice under the key principles of autonomy and accountability. This has enabled us to achieve great success, which in turn has resulted in an impressive rise in the University’s standing as an institution of higher learning over the last decade. All this has greatly boosted our pride in Kyung Hee. A university’s history and heritage as well as its social status and pride shared by its members is the fertile ground in which its culture takes root and grows. Now is the time for our ‘university culture’ to blossom.

Today, we are undergoing an earth-shattering shift in the history of human civilization. This presents many challenges. On the one hand, we are facing a host of intractable global problems including climate change, environment destruction, disease and poverty, and inequality and conflict. On the other hand, the rapid development of cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence is making the future of humanity increasingly unpredictable. This requires us to reflect once again on the University’s founding principles, history, and heritage and to build a sustainable global community by establishing and practicing universal public values. This is the duty we must take on as an educational institution.

As a global leader among world universities, Kyung Hee is again called upon to pool its resources and energy to reinvent itself into a new university worth its name, a university that the future awaits. This requires all of us to step up in fulfilling our public accountability and forging a new, brighter future for the world as an educational establishment and social institution. This cannot be done without financial stability. A strong foundation in finance is critical for a university to fulfill its responsibility of education and research and its social obligations. I will do my utmost to establish a virtuous cycle in which financial stability enhances the University’s status and vice versa.

My respected, beloved members of Kyung Hee Community:
The University will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2049. As I said earlier, the top priority during my term will be strengthening our financial foundation and elevating the University’s standing in the global community so that that the centennial will be a truly meaningful landmark. I am committed to creating a university that allows all its members to actively tap into their imagination in pursuing their dreams. This will involve designing innovative curricula, developing diverse career-preparation programs for the students, securing sustainable revenue streams, and ensuring fairness and transparency in personnel and administrative management. Ultimately, the university culture we are aspiring towards is one that inspires every member to be involved in cultivating a thriving community of learning. I cannot emphasize sufficiently the importance of us all pulling together and getting involved in advancing Kyung Hee so that it will emerge as an outstanding future-oriented learning institution in the years to come. As President, I will stay firmly committed to the vision of ‘Creating a Civilized World’ and work together with you every step of the way toward that vision on the basis of ‘open’ leadership. I shall never lose sight of these resolutions that I am making in front of you.

We have begun the new semester amid the COVID-19 global pandemic which continues to be a grave concern for everyone. In response, we postponed the beginning of the semester by two weeks and have taken every precaution to protect our community from the threat of the epidemic. Guided by what we learned from successfully fighting the MERS outbreak five years ago, the University will do everything in its power to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. I urge all of you, faculty, staff and students, to stay vigilant and to practice personal hygiene and preventive measures to protect yourself against the virus. I wish you all a healthy and bountiful semester.

Today is Valentine’s Day. So, I would like to conclude my message by saying, “I love you all.”