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제목 [2019.08.08.] 28th Annual Conference of the NEAEF   
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작성일 2019.08.16 18:24:46 조회수 327
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Welcome Speech & INU INTRODUCTION

by President Dong-Sung Cho

At the Opening of NEAEF Conference

The morning of Thursday, 8 August 2019

Honorable Dr. 조이제, Chairman of Northeast Asia Economic Forum,

Honorable Dr. 강볼드 바산자브, Head of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Office,

Distinguished guests,

Mr. 박관용, the former chairman of Korean National Assembly,

Mr. 홍재형, the former Deputy Prime Minister,

Mr. 도경환, the former Ambassador of Embassy of Republic of Korea in Malaysia,

Mr. Stephen Cowper, the former governor of Alaska, United States,

And Dr. Pavel Minakir, Academician and President of Economic Research Institute, Far East Branch, Russia Academy of Sciences, Russia,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning and welcome to Incheon National University!

 

It is indeed, a special privilege to welcome all of you to the 2019 Northeast Asia Economic Forum conference.

As we know, 2019 NEAEF conference is well organized by Northeast Asia Economic Forum and College of Social Sciences, University of Hawaii and hosted by United Nations ESCAP-East & Northeast Asia. I am pleased to join this wonderful international conference as the president of Incheon National University, the co-host of this conference.

I would like to begin by special thanks to Dr. 조이제 and Dr. 강볼드 for their great devotion and providing such tremendous support to make this NEAEF conference come true.

The city where you are now is called Songdo. Songdo is one of the remarkable symbols of Korean cities for its fastest-growing biotechnology, one of the most thriving business sectors in Korea. But more importantly, Songdo is the very location privileged with two connecting rods. The first one is Incheon International Airport which physically connects the human bodies of people in Korea and the world. The second one is Incheon National University which connects the human brains of people in Korea and the world.

 

Let me introduce how INU is becoming the connecting rod of human brains of people not only in Korea but also in the world.

INU hosted the 2nd Hanseatic League of Universities last month in July, here in Songdo. More than 250 presidents, rectors, scholars and ambassadors who are representing 52 countries participated in the 2ndHanseatic Leagues of Universities.

Hanseatic Leagues of Universities is the international forum to seek for the answer how universities in the world could be more innovative and sustainable in the rapid and dramatic changes of higher educational environment. Traditional university consortia or associations are internally oriented, that is to seek exchange of students and faculty among the member universities. HLU is externally oriented. HLU is trying to meet the challenges that higher education is facing today.

His Excellency, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, the 8th United Nations Secretary General joined the forum and delivered a wonderful message. Mr. Ban emphasized the role of universities should be more innovative and creative to lead the global sustainability. He proposed that, I quote “We, universities in the world, should not raise the wall to separate us, but build bridges to connect us.” 

Another VIP guest, Mr. Ben Nelson, the CEO and founder of Minerva School, often referred to as the most innovative and creative higher education provider in the United States, pointed that universities should be flexible and challenging all the time to cope with the difficulties that may stifle the existing higher education system.

Yes, the universities are facing many challenges now. Let me address two major challenges among many.

The first challenge comes from the society in the name of demographic changes. The number of students is decreasing. Many universities are suffering from shortage of freshmen as the student application drops sharply every year. In case of Korea, the university enrollment has dropped more than 19 percent since 2010 because of the low birth rate. According to Ministry of Education in Korea, 7.8 millions of students were enrolled in 2010 but only 6.3 millions of students are enrolled to all types of school in 2019.

The second challenge comes from the industry in the name of technology advancement. Universities are not as fast as the changes in the environment. Industry as well as students know what they want from the universities, and they are demanding explicitly what they want. They want more and more about the practical knowledges that can be used in the industry.

 

Old and traditional universities cannot provide right answer for these difficulties and challenges that universities have not been experienced.

This is why I’ve been trying to be a pioneer in the higher education system in Korea and in the world. I do not want INU copycat one of the best universities in the world. I want INU be the only university in the world. When I say “the only”, that means the most innovative and creative education provider in the world.

There are hundreds of the best universities in the world already. Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge and many other good universities representing each country are attracting young people to study at.

What’s the use for INU to be one of them. Needlessly to say, the world does not need another one of such leading universities. What the world really needs is the one that helps young people become more creative and innovative.

I began my career as a professor in 1978. Since then, I have not left the university campuses, and continued to serve three universities either as professor or administrator: namely Seoul National University, CKGSB in Beijing China, and now Incheon National University.

After the long journey of my university life, I realized that there must be something that really helps young people make their dreams come true. My answer for this question is that making a university the game changer itself, not the follower.

Since I took the presidency position in 2016, INU has been experimenting new educational approaches such as Matrix education system which connects the real business sectors and college education.

This is set up to match up the coursework contents with what business sectors really want the college education should be. INU has invited 60 plus companies, NGOs, government organizations and other social institutions to INU campus so that they establish their own educational programs. Now there are more than 30 programs designed and run by the companies and others. We call them “Company on Campus.” The Ministry of Education in Korea has officially recognized and mentioned INU a number of times as a pioneer in university innovation.

Focused Research University is another approach to INU’s status as the only university in the world. Bio, Post-unification integration, Belt-and-Road Policy from the Chinese diaspora’s point of view, Smart city and smart energy are the four focuses that INU professors have chosen to pursue regardless of their respective major research subjects.

There are a few more approaches that INU is attempting to implement as a means to makes it different from others and become the only university in the world.

INU is not satisfied with what we have achieved over the last three years. We have not yet gone far from the starting line. INU will continue the challenges until we reach the final goal, becoming the only university in the world, the most innovative and the most creative higher education provider.

Facing the challenge is not an easy job to overcome. But I do have a belief that no matter what the challenges are, and how hard the challenges may be to overcome, we will come up with solutions. THERE IS NO PROBLEM WITHOUT SOLUTION. If there are problems we cannot solve, it is because we have not yet found ways to solve. THERE IS NO CHALLENGE WITHOUT WAYS TO OVERCOME. Find them. And make them yours to carry out.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am truly honored to be here and meet you all personally. I sincerely hope that all of you make unforgettable memories in Songdo and Incheon National University.

Thank you.