Speeches

Title

“Towards a Bigger, Brighter Future with Kyung Hee!”
President’s Welcome Message to New Faculty Members

2020-04-16

“Towards a Bigger, Brighter Future with Kyung Hee!”  
 

President’s Welcome Message to New Faculty Members

Distinguished new faculty members: I am pleased to extend a heartfelt welcome to you all. It’s a long-overdue welcome, which should have been delivered in person months ago. Regrettably, the President’s annual welcome meeting with new faculty members, normally held in late February, was canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the pandemic still ongoing, I have chosen to convey my greetings to you in this written message.

Those of you who joined the University last year have already been with us for one or two semesters. I hope the time has been productive and valuable in preparing you for a successful voyage into the future with us. On that note, I welcome you aboard Kyung Hee University again.

As you are already familiar, our University was founded 71 years ago with a vision of “Creating a Civilized World.” Ever since then, our University has been highly successful in fulfilling its social responsibility as an institution of higher learning anchored by its core values of “Academe and Peace.” The 1970s and 1980s saw Kyung Hee gaining a firm foothold as a time-honored leading university in Korea. The year 2009, the landmark 60th anniversary of its founding, sounded the beginning of another remarkable leap forward. The progress Kyung Hee has achieved over the past ten years is unprecedented among universities in the world. This rapid rise in our global status is undoubtedly attributable to the tireless efforts we have made to reinforce the core competencies of the University.

As we celebrated the 70th anniversary last year, we set a new goal for the next 100 years, which is to emerge as “a top-tier global university transcending Asia’s boundaries.” This requires us to reinvent ourselves as a “future university worthy of its name” that can lead humanity into a sustainable society. The notion of a future university here is not abstract but very concrete. Future universities will be those that make key contributions to building a “civilized world” by creatively merging scholarship and practice. The vision of a “civilized world” is not nebulous, either. It is a global community in which all nations and people transcend their differences to share peace and prosperity.

Yet, transforming ourselves into a global university leading the world’s progress toward a sustainable cultural world takes effort. More than anything else, it calls on us to adapt ourselves to the ongoing seismic shifts in human civilization. The challenges ahead of us are indeed daunting and complex. Among them are climate change, depleting natural resources, population explosions, mounting inequality, and exacerbating bipolarization. The fact that these problems are intertwined with one another adds to global uncertainty. Furthermore, the global environment surrounding universities is not favorable. Big changes are underway in the way knowledge and information are produced, distributed, and consumed. Today’s universities are often accused of being locked in the 19th century mentality and their faculties of hanging onto 20th century ideas, while the students are living in the 21st century. It is warned that universities will perish in the near future if they fail to bridge these gaps quickly.

That does not mean societies will not need universities. To the contrary, their importance will increase. There is a saying that goes, “Education is the best solution ever invented to enable humanity to overcome their limits.” The role education plays becomes manifest when compared with politics and market economies. Political and economic reasoning is near-sighted. They seldom embrace long-term perspectives. In contrast, education thrives on fundamental, comprehensive, and long-term perspectives. Here is the raison d'?tre of universities. Universities as education and research communities should rise to the challenge of mapping out a better future for humanity.

Distinguished new faculty members: Our University has striven hard to become a place that allows its professors to teach and research and its students to learn and dream to “their hearts’ content.” Diverse programs have been instituted to enhance the faculty’s research capabilities and to better protect the student’s right to receive quality education. Along these lines, our University will do its best to help you grow into outstanding researchers and revered educators.

Again, it is quite regrettable that I cannot meet you face to face to tell you about our University and listen to what you have to say about making it better. I hope we will have such an opportunity soon. Being a member of the Kyung Hee family is a great thing to be proud of. I hope your hearts are filled with such pride.

Once again, welcome aboard. Our university has high expectations for you all to lead Kyung Hee and the world into a better future.

Thank you.

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