Presidents of Korea Univ. and Yonsei Univ. Give Cross-Lectures on Promoting “Open Collaboration”
President Yeom says, “Do Not Listen to Your Mother, but Rather Become Pioneering Intellectuals in the Age of Uncertainty”
“Everyone, never listen your mother. Your parents tend to think what was right for them 20~30 years ago is right for you. There is no vision or glory for obtaining certificates and trying to get into large companies. You need to pioneer the future and challenge yourselves.”
On November 16, over five hundred students convened in the Yonsei Baekyang Hall auditorium to listen to President Yeom’s special lecture. As part of the Korea University–Yonsei University cross-lecture series, President Yeom delivered his lecture on leadership at Yonsei University. This event took place approximately six months after Yong-Hak Kim, President of Yonsei University, gave his lecture at Korea University last May. President Yeom delivered his lecture on “The Future of University Education in the 21th Century: Pioneering Intellectuals”.
President Yeom started his lecture by saying, “It is an honor to give a special lecture at Yonsei University, which is Korea University’s eternal rival and companion. Young people seem to be suffering from unraveling the 21th century through a 20th century paradigm, so today I would like to talk about what attempts should be made in the 21st century.”
President Yeom said, “Today’s society no longer needs intellectuals who can give correct answers. In this regard, I hope you can become intellectuals who possess the ability to discover and solve problems.”
Compared to the 1960s when only 6% of the schooling population entered university, more than 75% enter university nowadays. In that sense, Yeom emphasized the fact that holding a bachelor’s degree is no longer meaningful these days. Nevertheless, universities are still focusing on large lectures for hundreds of students. He further pointed out that students are too narrowly focused on getting higher GPAs and obtaining jobs at large companies. He expressed that he was saddened by the fact that students who are living in the 21st century are trying to solve problems with a 20th century paradigm.
Yeom said, “Conglomerates were suitable for the 20th century. Google, Apple, and Amazon, however, are not all large companies. Domains that were once controlled humans will be taken over by artificial intelligence (AI).” He asked students to think differently about pursuing their careers mainly in large companies.
Yeom stated that the qualities that leaders of future society should possess are inclusiveness, broad perspectives, clear thinking, imagination, courage, and expertise. He said, “I hope you will be social innovators who can make humanity happier.” Unlike the old days when a limited number of people became lawyers by passing judicial exams, people who graduate from law schools can now become lawyers. In fact, law schools produce 1,000 lawyers per year and we now live in an era where Samsung employs more doctoral degree holders than the universities do. You need to put the 20th century mindset aside and become pioneering intellectuals who can continuously ask questions in order to seize new opportunities.”
Yonsei University students who listened to the lecture told President Yeom that they received standardized education based on rote learning back in elementary, middle, and high school and now that they are in college, they are all of a sudden being asked to change and face vague challenges, which are making them quite confused with all the demands placed on them. Yeom responded, “It is not that things you have done are wrong. I know that you really worked hard to get here. What I want to say is that you need to come out from your shell. After putting in so much effort and when you think of the hard work that you have accomplished so far, you need to let your light shine by showing it to the world. In order to do so, take a big leap towards the world by being inquisitive.”
He wrapped up his lecture by saying, “If you want to win the lottery, go and buy a ticket.” President Yeom asked students to just do whatever they want and emphasized that they should not fear failure.
Korea University and Yonsei University are actively sharing their human resources and learning resources, and are also making various attempts to improve the quality of university education while strengthening collaboration in preparation for a new era. Joint lectures being delivered under the theme “Introspecting Humanities towards Truth, Justice and Liberty” show a representative case of the two universities working together. Joint lectures are made through the collaboration of popular and renowned faculty members and are receiving positive responses from students who are enjoying the enthusiastic debates being held at each and every lecture.